Thu, Jul. 29, 2004

Free Speech for Offensive Views

CK - Washington.   The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe published an order and a press release today, covering a decision of June 23, 2004 in docket number BVerfG, 1 BvQ 19/04. The court held in its order that in free speech cases, the government may not deny a permit for a demonstration which it fears might lead to crime.

In the instant case, such a permit was refused a group with assumed ties to neo-nazis planning to protest public expenditures for a temple. The government believed in a threat of offensive speech that might violate prohibitions on anti-semitic and racist statements. The court acted in an injunction procedure; thus, the order is not as revealing as a final decision based on a complete record.

The core holding is the court's view that Article 5 of the constitution guarantees free speech and assembly rights to demonstrators who express clear minority views which may offend the vast majority, because the court believes in the purpose of a constitution to protect minorities in a democratic and pluralistic society.

German Domain Practice Manual

CK/MC - Washington.   The .de domain is one of the largest country domains and important also for American business with activities in German-speaking countries. Certain unexpected pitfalls, such as restrictions under the statutory rules for names and the unfair trade laws, can make .de domains tricky. The second edition of Handbuch Domain-Namen--Alles über Internet-Domains by Florian Huber and Daniel Dingeldey provides highly recommended information on practical and legal aspects of .de domain registration, defense, purchase, lease, sale, grabbing, dispute resolution as well as licensing.

In fifteen chapters, the authors address all relevant legal issues and summarize the case law which has matured to the extent that most practical issues can now be answered authoritatively. Of 364 pages, 124 comprise an addendum which includes sample contracts in English and German for a variety of domain transactions. This useful encyclopedia of German domain law is available for some $35 at

EU-Wide Enforcement

CK - Washington.   The recognition and enforcement of decisions in the area of family law will be improved with the enactment of legislation to implement the European Union directive 2201/2003 by Germany. Berlin's Brigitte Zypries announced that the Cabinet approved a bill to that effect today. It covers marital as well as custody issues, eliminates superfluous reviews of final decisions rendered in the participating nations and enhances the Hague Convention against the abduction of children.

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