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Globorama - Lawsuit against the ZKM, state of affairs

On December 7th, 2009 we have posted on the WWP-list, that we have filed a lawsuit against Mr. Lintermann and against the ZKM with a German court of justice. Our aim was to fight through a precedence for those photographers who did not want to take the risk of a case in court.

The oral proceedings at the Amtsgericht Karlsruhe took place on the 2nd of February 2010. In this session the judge informed us, that he thought that there was a breach of copyright and now the court would pursue the question of the proper payment for the panoramas in question. The court set the date for its decision on the 12th of March 2010. Due to illness of the judge this date has been postponed several times. For a long time we did not hear anything from court. We even requested information from the president of the court on the reason for the delay. We finally were informed that the judge had decided on April the 29th 2011 that an expertise should be ordered for the case.

So after a delay of more than !!! one year !!! the court got active again.

The judge also decided that a new session in court should take place on June, 8th 2011. The judge suggested that it would be sufficient, if the parties would hand in their statements, so no one would have to travel to Karlsruhe. But the lawyer of the opposing party (who is located in Karlsruhe) disagreed, so that Reinhard Schmolze and Mr. Pustejovsky had to travel to Karlsruhe - only to learn, that an expertise concerning the question of typical payment for panoramas should be ordered – a fact they knew alrady from the afore mentioned decision of the court. To prolong the case yet further, the opposing lawyer requested more time from the court in order to be able to suggest a suitable expert witness. This did take another 6 weeks. On September 15th we were informed by the court, that the expertise will presumably be ready by December 15th. But considering the case so far, it would be close to a miracle, if the court should be able to keep up that date.

These extreme delays are not typical for the German legal system but they seem to be typical for the court in Karlsruhe. There seems to be at least one major problem in organizing that court properly. Anyway these delays are extremely frustrating. Now a new problem arises that no doubt the opposing lawyer was aiming at the whole time: Due to the statute of limitations any case concerning the original panorama theft by the ZKM in regard to the use at "Ideenpark" in 2008 raised against the ZKM after the end of December 2011 will be dismissed as time barred (in German: Die Ansprüche sind verjährt). Even today ZKM might plead the statute of limitations with success in regard to the use of Globorama in the ZKM-Lounge itself in 2007.

For more information please contact us offlist and privately at the below email-addresses. We can also arrange a contact with Mr. Pustejovsky if anyone should be in need of a lawyer who is familiar with the case.

Reinhard Schmolze, schmolze@panorama-fotografie.de
Carsten T. Rees, rees@virtuelles-freiburg.de

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