On 20 December 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act (Case No. I ZR 104/17). The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons—an online database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses—as public domain images. All pictures featured art on display at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
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On 31 May 2016, the Regional Court of Berlin (15 O 428/15) ruled that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act. The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons as public domain images that had been taken by a photographer employed by the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany. Responding to the judgment, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Germany wrote that the decision did not pay adequate attention to the long-term damage this judgment represents to accessing public domain works.

The Wikimedia Foundation already announced its plans to appeal the case to the next level of appellate court—the Kammergericht Berlin—and, if necessary, to take it all the way to the Federal Court of Justice.
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In October 2015, the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany, filed a lawsuit in the Regional Court of Berlin against the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Germany. The suit concerns copyright claims related to 17 photographs of works of art on display at the museum. The photographs were commissioned by the museum and were later uploaded to Wikimedia Commons — an online database of works distributed under creative commons licenses — by a third party.
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