Last year, a 16 year-old Italian boy took his mother to court for constantly posting photos of him on Facebook without his consent. The boy claimed that his mother’s actions had such a serious impact on his social life that he was considering transferring to a high-school in the United States so he could “start over”. One December 23, 2017, Judge Monica Velletti of the first section of the civil court in Rome made a historical decision, ruling in favor of the teen, and ordering the mother to delete all references of him from her social media account by February 1, 2018, or risk a fine of €10,000 ($12,270).
Italian media reports that, according to court documents, the 16-year-old and his mother have been in an open conflict since she and his father got divorced. After the separation, the mother allegedly started posting photos and details of her son’s personal life “almost compulsively”, going as far as referring to him as a “mental patient” and comparing him to a “killer”.
Lawyer Giuseppe Croari told Euronews that the mother had violated Facebook’s terms and conditions by posting her son’s pictures and effectively claiming copyright over his data. Italian copyright law clearly states that the subject of the photo owns the copyright, and express permission is required before it can be published on social media.