Sat, Aug. 22, 2009

Liability of Domain Lessor for Content

CK - Washington.   Under German law, is the owner and lessor of an Internet domain liable to third parties for content published by the domain lessee on the web site at that domain if the content adversely affects a third party?

The German federal supreme court for civil matters, Bundesgerichtshof, in Karlsruhe says no. The lessor may exercise editorial control and might be liable on a theory of contributory liability derived from §1004 of the German Civil Code, BGB, but is not when the lessee solely controls the site and content.

The court also determined that liability, if any, would derive exclusively from the civil and criminal codes, not the speciality statutes governing German communications and Internet law, such as the Telemediengesetz statute which is silent on the issue. The June 30, 2009 decision in the matter VI ZR 210/08 is republished in Medien Internet und Recht.

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