The Frankfurt district court has issued a preliminary injunction against Lega party leader and interior minister Matteo Salvini for copyright infringement in his recent tweet which used journalist and photographer Friedhold Ulonska's photo without his permission. The court urged Salvini to delete the post, Libero Quotidiano reported. The court has reportedly threatened the minister with a fine of up to €250,000 or six months in jail if he fails to abide by its decision.
According to photographer Friedhold Ulonska quoted by the Libero Quotidiano, Salvini used the photo as a tool of the incitement against German rescue missions at sea.
"Images were taken by me. He didn't ask me if he was allowed to use them. Like all the others, Salvini must respect the law. If he does not do so, as in this case, we like to remind him of the limits of his actions by all constitutional means", Friedhold Ulonska told Libero Quotidiano.
Both tweets with the contradictory photo have already been deleted from Matteo Salvini's page.
In his last tweet dated June 2019, Salvini stated, "Carola, guilty for being born 'white, German and rich' and Soren (remember? His motto seems to be 'to remain rebellious, to remain rotten') thank the PD for donations to the pirate ship Sea-Watch."
PD is the centre-left Partito Democratico, Italy's main opposition party.
In his 2018 tweet, Salvini wrote, "this gentleman and the crew of the ship of the German NGO that, waiting to load immigrants, calls me a 'fascist' ... Reassuringly I would say."
On 12 June, the search and rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 rescued refugees not far from the Libyan coast and sought to dock in the Italian port of Lampedusa but it was denied permission to do so. Italy banned the ship from docking for two weeks, but the vessel's captain, Carola Rackete, decided to dock anyway, hitting a customs and border police motorboat in the process. On 29 June, she was arrested and now faces 10 years in prison for ramming a navy vessel.
According to Der Spiegel magazine, Germany is ready to host over a dozen of the 40 migrants rescued.
After Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini took office in 2018, Rome adopted a hardline policy on migration. Salvini has repeatedly said that Italy could not remain Europe's "refugee camp" while neighbouring countries close their borders and defend their frontiers with weapons. In June, Italy adopted a security and migration decree, which aims to curb the activity of migrant rescue ships operated by humanitarian groups.
European countries have been struggling with their worst migration crisis in recent history for around four years. The migrant issue is a stumbling block for the European Union as it has no mechanism regulating the fair distribution of refugees rescued in the Mediterranean among member states. Italy, along with Spain and Greece, has been one of the most affected countries as it serves as the main entry point for undocumented migrants arriving in Europe by sea.