For many years there have been different stories about cooks who think that people taking photographs of their food are "stealing" something.
According to a recent publication, it appears that this is not just a matter of beliefs in Germany, but in fact an established German law.
The law states, “In individual cases, shared pictures may be illegal. At worst, a copyright warning notice might come fluttering to the social media user. For carefully-arranged food in a famous restaurant, the cook is regarded as the creator of a work. Before it can be made public on Facebook & Co., permission must first be asked of the master chef.”
The absurd situation traces back to a judgment made by a German court in 2013, which widened the laws on exclusive rights to include the creative and applied arts.
As a result of the judgment, the minimum requirement for copyrightability was lowered significantly, with the practical outcome that it was easier for chefs to take legal action against those who posted photos of their works without consent.
German publication Die Welt notes that this prohibition can apply even to obviously un-artistic mounds of food dumped callously on a plate if a café owner simply puts up a note refusing consent for photos to be taken of its cooking.
This repressive kind of ownership attitude has been embraced by the courts of Germany yet with it comes a lack of innovation.
According to a 2010 Techdirt article, there's plenty of proof that it is specifically the lack of exclusive rights in food that has triggered continuing innovation - just as it has in other areas that manage to go on without this picky intellectual domination, notably in style and fashion.
By allowing absurd ownership claims both creativity and innovation are held back while at the same time courts are burdened with ridiculous lawsuits over unimportant matters.