In a decision dated 23 September 2020 (Case No. 2-06 O 335/19), the Frankfurt Regional Court ordered the former Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, at the request of Mission Lifeline crew member Friedhold Ulonska, to refrain from an infringement of copyright. The court thus confirmed its previous decision of August 12, 2019.
The court has prohibited Matteo Salvini from publishing a photograph taken by Mission Lifeline crew member Friedhold Ulonska on the Internet in the Federal Republic of Germany, as happened in his Twitter posting on June 28, 2019. In case of violation he is threatened with an administrative fine of up to EUR 250,000.00 or imprisonment for up to six months.
Axel Steier, Chairman of Mission Lifeline e.V., comments on this decision:
"We consistently pursue all violations of rights committed by the media and politicians against Mission Lifeline and our crew members. This also includes taking action against copyright infringements. The former Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is now also having this experience. We are pleased that the Frankfurt Regional Court has now confirmed our legal opinion once again in its ruling.”
Friedhold Ulonska has been a journalist and captain for many years and, as such, is repeatedly deployed in the Mediterranean on sea rescue ships, including the "Lifeline", a ship of Mission Lifeline e.V. He comments on the injunction he has enforced:
"Matteo Salvini used photographic material taken by me as part of his smear campaign against us sea rescuers. He did not ask me whether he was allowed to do so. Like everyone else, Matteo Salvini must abide by law and order. If he does not, as in the present case, we will gladly remind him of the limits of his actions by any means within the rule of law.”
Mission Lifeline crew member Friedhold Ulonska was represented in the proceeding by Spirit Legal Rechtsanwälte from Leipzig. Attorney Dr. Jonas Kahl, specialist lawyer for copyright and media law, on the decision:
"The Frankfurt Regional Court has ordered Matteo Salvini with the decision obtained by us to refrain from using the photo of our client for his purposes on Twitter without his permission. Matteo Salvini then deleted the photo. If he uses it again, he is threatened with an administrative fine of up to EUR 250,000.00 or, alternatively, administrative detention.
Since Matteo Salvini violated copyrights of a German citizen in his Tweet, this violation of rights could also be prosecuted in a German court, since the Tweet was also available in Germany. In addition, in his Tweet he also expressly referred to two German sea rescuers".