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Is Taking Photographs Of Food in Restaurants Illegal in Germany?


The hashtag #FoodPorn is one of the Instagram community’s favourite words. After all, don’t you feel a thrill of vicarious joy (and hunger), when you come across a gorgeous photograph of beautifully plated food? Well, if the German government has its way, you won’t be getting much Food Porn feed from Germany in the future.

According to a German website, The Local, the German Federal court extended copyright laws in Germany to include ‘elaborately arranged’ food. Such food is considered the intellectual property of the creator, or the chef.


However, according to another German website, this law only applies to intricately arranged, unique food. Taking and sharing a photograph of a regular fried egg or a pile of bratwursts is okay. Taking a photograph of a well plated, distinctive dish at a five star restaurant is not.

“An elaborately arranged dish in a restaurant can be a copyright-protected work, In such a case, the creator of the work has the right to decide where and to what extent the work can be reproduced,” said Dr Niklas Haberkamm, a partner at a corporate law firm. “Even if no copyright infringement has occurred, the restaurant owner is legally allowed, by householder’s rights, to forbid customers taking photos of food,” Haberkamm added.


However, till date there have been no records of a restaurant suing a customer for sharing photographs of their food. From our experience, restaurants are only too happy when customers share snaps of their food – it’s a great marketing tool! So, in the future we don’t foresee too many lawsuits regarding intellectual property of food photographs. At least, we hope not; we love our #FoodPorn!