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As part of the Edathy scandal, the general criminalising of pictures of children in the nude was also discussed at times. In December 2014, the new version of section 201a of the German penal code has been passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat, without the general criminalising of pictures of nude children. The portrayal of nudity of children is therefore also still allowed. Thousands of images of Mary with nude Jesus in her arms remain legal: Thousands of churches and museums do not have to veil their pictures and statues. Millions of vacation photos showing children playing nude on the beach or in their home garden remain also legal. However, the limits of the permitted have been tightened a little.

 

§ 201a1)
Verletzung des höchstpersönlichen Lebensbereichs durch Bildaufnahmen

[en: section 201a "Violation of intimate privacy by taking photographs"]

(1) Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu zwei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe wird bestraft, wer
[en: "With imprisonment of up to two years or a fine is punished, who"]

1. von einer anderen Person, die sich in einer Wohnung oder einem gegen Einblick besonders geschützten Raum befindet, unbefugt eine Bildaufnahme herstellt oder überträgt und dadurch den höchstpersönlichen Lebensbereich der abgebildeten Person verletzt,
[en: "1. unauthorised imprints or transmits an image of another person, who is in an apartment or in a specially protected space, and thus violates the highly personal sphere of life of the person depicted,"]
2. eine Bildaufnahme, die die Hilflosigkeit einer anderen Person zur Schau stellt, unbefugt herstellt oder überträgt und dadurch den höchstpersönlichen Lebensbereich der abgebildeten Person verletzt,
[en: "2. makes or transmits an image recording, that displays the helplessness of another person, without authorisation and thereby violates the highly personal sphere of life of the person depicted,"]
3. eine durch eine Tat nach den Nummern 1 oder 2 hergestellte Bildaufnahme gebraucht oder einer dritten Person zugänglich macht oder
[en: "3. use or make available to a third person an image taken by act 1 or 2; or"]
4. eine befugt hergestellte Bildaufnahme der in den Nummern 1 oder 2 bezeichneten Art wissentlich unbefugt einer dritten Person zugänglich macht und dadurch den höchstpersönlichen Lebensbereich der abgebildeten Person verletzt.
[en: "4. knowingly authorises unauthorised access to a third party of the type referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2, thereby violating the highly personal sphere of life of the person depicted."]

(2) Ebenso wird bestraft, wer unbefugt von einer anderen Person eine Bildaufnahme, die geeignet ist, dem Ansehen der abgebildeten Person erheblich zu schaden, einer dritten Person zugänglich macht.
[en: "(2) Who makes a picture recording of another person, which is capable of causing considerable damage to the public image of that person, and makes that picture recording available to a third person, shall also be punished."]
(3) Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu zwei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe wird bestraft, wer eine Bildaufnahme, die die Nacktheit einer anderen Person unter achtzehn Jahren zum Gegenstand hat,
[en: "(3) Imprisonment of up to two years or a fine shall be imposed on anyone, who does an image, that involves the nudity of another person under the age of eighteen, "]

1. herstellt oder anbietet, um sie einer dritten Person gegen Entgelt zu verschaffen, oder
[en: "1. manufacture or offer, to sale it to a third party, or"]
2. sich oder einer dritten Person gegen Entgelt verschafft.
[en: "2. procure himself or a third person for payment."]

(4) Absatz 1 Nummer 2, auch in Verbindung mit Absatz 1 Nummer 3 oder Nummer 4, Absatz 2 und 3 gelten nicht für Handlungen, die in Wahrnehmung überwiegender berechtigter Interessen erfolgen, namentlich der Kunst oder der Wissenschaft, der Forschung oder der Lehre, der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens oder der Geschichte oder ähnlichen Zwecken dienen.
[en: "(4) Paragraph 1 number 2, also in connection with paragraph 1 number 3 or number 4, paragraphs 2 and 3 shall not apply to acts that serve of predominantly legitimate interests, namely arts or science, research or teaching, reporting on events of the day or the history or similar purposes."]

(5) Die Bildträger sowie Bildaufnahmegeräte oder andere technische Mittel, die der Täter oder Teilnehmer verwendet hat, können eingezogen werden. § 74a ["Einziehung von Tatprodukten, Tatmitteln und Tatobjekten bei anderen" – Anmerkung des Verfassers] ist anzuwenden.
[en: "(5) The image carriers and imaging recording devices or other technical means used by the offender or participant may be confiscated. Section 74a {"Extended conditions of deprivation" – annotation by the author} shall apply"]

 

Paragraph (1) of the new section 201a of the German penal code protects people against production or distribution of images of their very own sphere of life. So, this is about photos, which depict people in their private environment, i.e. their apartment, or in a deplorable state like i.e. intoxication.

Paragraph (2) states: Also, the one will be punished, who grants a third person access to a photo of another person without authorisation, that is capable of causing considerable damage to the image of the depicted person. Whether here also nudity (e.g. at a naturist beach or during a hike in the nude) is concerned, remains unclear and is to be clarified in the individual case. The wording, "whether a picture causes a significant damage to the reputation of a person" remains vague.

But in any case, the right of the own picture applies (section 22 "Right of communication of broadcasts and of works made available to the public" of the German Copyright Act), whose violation is not a criminal offense, but can be prosecuted under civil law, only.

Paragraph (3) concerns the nudity of children and adolescents: The production with the aim of distribution for a fee and the real distribution of such images for a fee is penalised, as well as the paid acquisition of such images. Crucial, whether a crime exists, is thus the demand or the paying of a price. Free provision is therefore allowed.

Paragraph (4) expressly excludes "acts, […] which serve in particular art or science, research or teaching, reporting on events of current affairs or history or similar purposes".
The documentation of the development of naturism in history and in the present on the natury website is undoubtedly such a report. This also eliminates the restrictions of the new section 201a of the Penal Code for the natury website.

 

_______

1) Currently [December 2017], the official translation of the German federal law to English as to section 201a "Violation of intimate privacy by taking photographs" does not reflect the above mentioned change. Also, it is noticable, that the change does not only adds now a special focus on pictures, that show minors, but also extends the maximum time of imprisonment from one year to two years.