Judgement of the German Supreme Court of 1st December 1999 – Case No. I Cr 49/97 (KG)
- The general personality right and its specific forms such as the right to a person’s name and picture serve the purpose of protecting not only moral, but also commercial interests of a person. If any of these personality rights is infringed in a culpable way, i.e. the intrusion is negligent or wilful, by means of an unauthorised exploitation of a picture, name or other personal property rights, the owner of the personality right is entitled to compensation irrespective of the gravity of the infringement.
- The commercial layer of personality rights is inheritable as long as the moral interests of the deceased person are still under protection. The heirs therefore can control and licence every purely commercial use of the deceased person’s personality rights. On the other hand, purely moral rights are closely linked to the living person. The moral layer of personality rights is therefore not transferable and inheritable.
(§ 823 (1) of the Civil Code in connection with §§ 22, 23 of the Law on Copyright in Arts)