The Illegal Film

My Car.
Your House.
Our Street.

Someone’s property.

But who owns the photo of your house?
The colour of my car?
The image of our street?

Can one own a view?
Who makes money with all your images on Facebook or Whatsapp?
Who will control the image of the world once reality is completely „augmented“?

Short Synopsis

Cameras replace our eyes. We take more photographs in a single day than we did in the entire twentieth century. Our world transforms itself into its own image.

What are we to do with all of these images? What are these images doing to us? Can we even make a film about a world that is becoming an image itself?

It would be illegal if we were to show you everything we see around us. Because every single image is owned by someone. So many images. And so many bans on images.

Owners and copyright-owners of objects, buildings, trademarks and even landscapes claim money for the depiction of their property. The vast commercial potential within these images is becoming increasingly important. Algorithms, by means of face recognition technology and mobile profiles, yield invaluable data for the consumer- and advertising industry.

Soon, the question of who owns a single image or who can copy a film for how much will be peripheral. The real moneymaker is the wealth of pictures of us all. If everything really does become a product – art, ideas, colours, the pictures of our surroundings and even our ‘selfies’ – then who do the pictures we take of ourselves, and our world belong to?


People are filming and taking pictures of themselves like never before. Since the invention of the photograph trillions of photos have been taken. But the easier it gets to “expose” everything and everyone, the more our self-evident freedom to portray the world is restricted by rules.

Directors' Note

Can one even make such a film?

A film about copyright law is above all a challenge for the producer. Or to put it bluntly: an unreasonable demand. Is it at all legally possible to make a film about “intellectual property”? We will have to use numerous excerpts from copyright protected works. Is this allowed?

With this in mind, we are taking the bull by the horns. The film project itself becomes part of the film. We deal with our film’s topic throughout its making.

Following their internationally acclaimed “Kinshasa Symphony”, “The Illegal Film” is Martin Baer’s and Claus Wischmann’s second jointly produced film.