Can one person violate another person's rights

Personal rights

Team of authors iRights.Lab

Philipp Otto is the founder and executive director of the independent think tank for digital strategies iRights.Lab.

Valie Djordjevic is co-founder and editor of She mainly writes on the topics of copyright and art, gender and teaches writing for the internet as a lecturer. She works as a scientific editor at iRights.Lab.

Jana Maire is a freelance consultant for digital society change at the think tank iRights.Lab and at the publisher iRights.Media.

Tom Hirche studied law at the Humboldt University in Berlin and is an alumnus of the first German law clinic for Internet law. He deals with the interactions between the digital world and the law. At iRights.Lab he works as an analyst for Policy & Legal Affairs.

Eike Graef is Policy Advisor at iRights.Lab. His focus is on project development, the creation of concepts for imparting knowledge about digital topics and working on reports and studies.

Henry Steinhau works as a freelance media journalist and author in Berlin, he publishes reports, interviews and articles, backgrounds and columns on media-related topics. He works as a freelance online editor at

Personality is what defines us as human beings. It can be positively influenced by giving it the freedom to unfold and develop. But it can also be negatively affected from the outside and be permanently damaged.

Personal rights - Illustration license: cc by-nc-nd / 3.0 / de / (

Everyone will have been called an "idiot" or a "fool" at least once in their life. This is unpleasant, but often you can put it away without any problems. But you don't have to put up with everything - especially if the statements are particularly derogatory and are made to a broader public.

Injuries can also look completely different: utterances are twisted and reproduced in abbreviated form. A company advertises with its own face for a preparation for bladder weakness without being asked. The accusation of having become abusive or violent is publicized. Intimate recordings are distributed in the Internet. A negative entry is left on a review portal. Information that has been entrusted to a website is passed on to other providers or is suddenly accessible to everyone. Our legal system comprehensively protects personal rights. This happens partly with the help of criminal law, but in any case in a civil law way. Elimination claims ensure that the injury is removed. A hate comment has to be deleted, a condition has to be crushed or the data leak has to be closed. To protect against future injuries, injunctive relief and claims for damages ensure that all material losses are compensated. In extreme cases, the person concerned receives compensation for particular suffering.

Legal recourse does not always have to be taken. In certain cases it may be sufficient to notify the operator of a website about the infringement and to ask to eliminate it. If the request is not complied with or if it does not promise any success at all, the next step should be to instruct a specialized lawyer to issue a warning. In this way, the problem can often be solved quickly and also relatively inexpensive for the infringer - in the case of a justified warning, the warning party can demand the costs for this from the infringer. If this is not the case, the only option left is to take legal action. In many cases it has to be done very quickly. So-called temporary legal protection is recommended for this. In this way, a court order can be brought about within a few days. A long and costly main procedure cannot always be avoided.

Each of these steps should be carefully considered. No matter how much you are convinced that you are right, a judge can see it differently. Personal rights must always be weighed against other rights, such as freedom of expression or freedom of the press. It is difficult to make clear statements here. How the proceedings will end is often uncertain. In addition, there is the so-called Streisand effect: Sometimes a legal dispute only generates attention that is particularly damaging to the company's reputation.