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German court rules Facebook account can pass to user’s heirs after death

Date:10 AUG 2018
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TMT analysis: Can a social media account be inherited after the account holder’s death? Roman Brtka counsel in the intellectual property practice at Bird & Bird based in Munich explains a recent privacy ruling in the German Federal Supreme Court regarding rights of heirs to access the Facebook accounts of deceased family members.

What are the practical implications of this case?

The German Federal Court of Justice clarified some unanswered and important legal questions associated with handling digital legacies under German law. In consequence according to German law upon the death of a person their social media accounts pass to their heirs.

Although the exclusion of inheritability of membership accounts on social media remains possible the practical implementation will become significantly more difficult. In any event such exclusion by means of a pre-formulated provision in the terms and conditions of the social media company is not permissible.

However if the holder of the social media account provides the social media company with an explicit and informed declaration that they don’t want their social media account to pass to their heirs upon their...

Read the full article here.