Tue, Sep. 28, 2004

Censorship Trial for a Web Link

CK - Washington.   Alvar Freude founded ODEM.org, a German website that promotes online demonstrations. Freude will be tried in a Stuttgart court on October 7, 2004. The offense: ODEM.org discussed censorship. The article contains a link to a right wing web site. The web site had been outlawed by a Düsseldorf court under laws prohibiting certain activities such as the glorification of Nazis. Apparently, the latter court launched a criminal investigation into offering that link.

The LAWgical alerts readers to the trial and notes that the suppression of links runs counter to the web principles enunciated by Technical Advisory Group des W3C, in particular its September 11, 2003 findings on deep links.

Freude's team comments that courts and the justice system got lost in the net. Their comment includes a recital of the charges which equate links with providing illegally access to censored material. ODEM argues that the censorship law does not apply to web links when the topic is a current event issue of public interest, such as the censorship laws themselves which by necessity address censoring. ODEM charges also that the authorities disregarded the blatant satire on censorship on a second site that also forms a basis for the charges against Freude.

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