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A court has held a photographer liable for damages after he unauthorised a "body profile" photo showing off his muscular body in his underwear.
The Daegu District Court 3-3 Civil Division (Presiding Judge Son Yun-kyung) ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Mr. A against Mr. B, who runs a photography studio in Daegu, claiming damages of KRW 300 million.
In 2020, Ms. A signed a contract with Ms. B, a photographer who was introduced to her by a fitness trainer, to take a body profile and provide it after retouching it.
After receiving the down payment, Mr. B took a profile picture of Mr. A's body at a studio in Nam-gu, Daegu in July of that year, and sent the entire photo via SNS message, requesting him to "select 7 photos to enhance and send the balance."
However, Mr. A did not respond to Mr. B's request for the balance of the payment, saying, "I will not make any corrections because it does not match the concept I wanted," and did not remit the balance.
After confirming Mr. A's intention, Mr. B replied, "I will discard the photographs."
One day, Mr. A, who thought his contract had ended, found a profile of himself in underwear posted on a business promotion blog run by a fitness trainer.
Shocked by the unauthorized sharing of his photos, Ms. A, who even received psychiatric treatment, eventually sued Ms. B.
The Daegu District Court pointed out that "Ms. A is wearing underwear in the photograph, and as a member of the public, she may feel sexually humiliated if the image is viewed by others" and that "a body profile photographer who specializes in photographing the exposed body of another person has a strict duty of care in managing the photographs she takes."
He continued, "Even if the photograph was taken with the intention of making it public, it cannot be said that Mr. A expected the photo to be disseminated by someone outside his control."
"Mr. B did not ask if he could send the images to others, and he did not inform them of the fact even after sending the images," he said, adding, "It is clear that Mr. A must have suffered mental pain due to the illegal act, so he is obligated to comfort him with money," and sentenced him to a fine of 8 million won.
On the other hand, the fitness trainer who posted a photo of Ms. A online without permission was suspended for violating the Special Act on the Punishment of Crimes of Sexual Violence (filming using a camera, etc.).