Thursday, February 11, 2016

Facebook makes a U-turn on nude art after Paris ruling

 Gustav Courbet's L'Origine du Monde, 1866. Photo: Musée d'Orsay, Paris

As per the Art Newspapers, a judge at the Supreme Court in Paris has ruled that Facebook is accountable to French law after a teacher sued the website for banning an image that he had posted of Courbet’s The Origin of the World, 1886, which contravened its rules on nudity. The court ruled that the case comes under its jurisdiction and it is now due to be heard by a civil court in France on 21 May. Facebook’s lawyers had argued that all users agreed to use the courts in California for litigation when they joined the site. Our sister paper Le Journal des Arts said that the judge called this clause “abusive”, while the teacher’s lawyer noted that if it were enforced, none of France’s 22 million Facebook users would “have recourse to French legal jurisdiction in the event of a dispute”. In a seemingly related move, Facebook has issued new guidelines on nudity. “Photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures” will now be permitted. Facebook declined to say whether the move was prompted by the legal case.