Ministry responds to photography law rumors

Hungarion version

ministry-of-public-administration-and-justiceHungary’s Ministry of Public Administration and Justice issued a press release to clarify things that appeared during the weekend in international press about the new civil code commonly called photography law. It is worth to read it before you criticise the law.

I don’t like to post press releases without any comment, but it has the key points and I plan to write something more on the law later. I did it many times on my Hungarian blog already, but for English speaking readers I think this topic needs somewhat different approach.

You can also find the full text of the law in English and I provided some key excerpts as well.

Press release of the ministry published by them in English (not my translation):

Response of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice on the rumours circulating in the press regarding the new legislation on portraying In response to false allegations circulating in the press, the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice once again draws attention on the fact that the regulation of taking press photos does not change within the new Civil Code; rather, only the established judicial practice was included in new code. The new Civil Code in force only specifies the given section of the former code on violation of portraying. According to the previous code, “any misuse of visual or audio recordings in relation to a person constitutes a violation of privacy rights”. The line “any misuse against” had long been interpreted by court practice that it includes recordings made without permission and not just unauthorized disclosure. The relevant provisions of the new Civil Code are intended to fix this judicial practice. The author of the part under question of the new code of was László Székely, current Ombudsman for Fundamental Rights. The former Ministerial Commissioner also attended several professional boards earlier, where representatives of the jurisdictional profession were given opportunity to express their opinions and discuss related matters.

Recording of image and sound is legitimate if the related person gave permission, but this approval is not bound to formal ways in the new Civil Code, it could happen through implicit conduct. The new Civil Code codifies the judicial practice according to which not only ​​public appearances, but crowd recordings have a legality of which does not require consent. The concept of mass is does not strictly defined in the new Civil Code; the judicial practice on crowd recordings uptake matter where the nature of the representation is not individual and the individual participants do not appear separately on the record, but as a mass. However in connection when recording in public space or a public event, it is still not possible under the jurisprudence for the record to present a member of the crowd separately and individually without his or her consent.

Coming from above, it is incorrect to claim that “if someone walks into picture while shooting a photo, essentially then it is an insult against law”, as involuntary or innocent behaviour is not sanctioned by Civil Law.

Budapest, 17 March 2014

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