Oliver S. , Jun 11, 2003; 09:50 a.m.
If a picture shows a person, or persons, you must not publish that pictures without that person's or persons', agreement. Period. How the picture was made (painting, sculpture, photography, holograph,...) and whether it is for commercial or editorial purposes, does not matter. There are, however, a few exceptions:
Personen des Zeitgeschehens, i.e. politicians, CEOs of large corporations, and celebrities, may be photographed without prior asking. There are also temporary Personen des Zeitgeschehens, e.g. the lawyer of a celebrity while the latter one is in court for some reason, and the judge of the court.
Exceptions to the exception: do not photograph the minor relatives of Personen des Zeitgeschehens without permission! This limitation was imposedabout 20 years ago when kidnapping celebrity kids was en vogue, lest future criminals can easily identify their targets.
Also, even Personen des Zeitgeschehens have a right to privacy. Avoid shooting the bundeskanzler with his pants down. Last year he filed a lawsuit against a journalist who had written that the bundeskanzler had his hair dyed.
You also do not need a permit is you photograph people who participate in a public gathering--soccer spectators, demonstrators, etc. Strictly speaking, "zooming in" on a single spectator is illegal, but law enforcement does it all the time at demonstrations.
You neither need a release if the person cannot be recognised in the picture. A characteristic haircut or even somewhat typical clothing my negate this, however. On the other side, this allows you to include people in you pictures. If you photograph Schloss Charlottenburg at 11.00h a.m., you need not ask all the tourists in front of it whether they agree to it.
If it's intended to be permanent and visible from public ground, you can photograph it to your heart's content. This was clarified last year when Christo, the famous "wrapping artist", won a lawsuit against a postcard publisher who had sold post cards that showed the Berlin Reichstag in Christo's packaging. The court ruled that the publisher need compensate Christo for this because the art had not beenintended to be permanent; it also stated that using images of the wrapping for information purposes was still free.
This does not mean, of course, that you are free to photograph military or law enforcement structures! Keep your camera packed away in the proximity of barbed wire. Also, private institutions may wish to enforce their copyright; e.g.,a wordwide fast food chain usually asks PJs to leave on the grounds that the entire interior of their restaurant were copyrighted. (Afaik it even is.)
Feel free to mail me directly for further information.