Thu, Oct. 21, 2004

Nondestructive Fax

CK - Washington.   advobLAWg links to an appellate ruling from Frankfurt, docket number 2Ss 39/03, that holds an unsolicited telefax not destructive for purposes of the criminal law. Paper, power and ink used for this type of correspondence are de minimis even though their use technically renders them destroyed or damaged.

Vetter Wins One For Olbertz

CK - Washington. Olbertz provides blog services to bloggers. Novitel has problems. Presumably, an employee blogged about working conditions. Novitel sued Olbertz, arguing, inter alia, that he should release servers and data for seizure and inspection, and that he is personally liable for the acts of the writers. Attorney Udo Vetter, of law blog fame, won the injunction proceedings for Olbertz today at the Berlin local court. Olbertz and Vetter agreed that Vetter would provide a report on the matter on his blog.

The court declined to hold the blog service provider personally responsible for the writings of users. In particular, it found that the lack of compliance with the Impressum requirement by users does not enable a third party to pierce the shield afforded the service provider under the ISP statutes. The requirement is an odius anti-anonymity rule that has caused fears of non-compliance even when compliance is not required, such as in non-commercial internet activities. Some lawyers and organizations specialize in the pursuit of web writers, which can be a lucrative line of business. Congratulations to Vetter and Olbertz in convincing the court where to draw the line!

Hamburg Court: ISP to Reveal Data

CK - Washington.   A Hamburg court granted the petition of a copyright claimant against an internet service provider to release customer data relative to an alleged copyright violation involving audio material, basing its decision on §101(a) of the Copyright Statute. It thereby pierced the veil of limited liability created by a special ISP statute in §§8 et seq. TGD, the so-called remote services statute. The Heyms-DrBahr blog and Thomas Stadler web site provide more detailed analyses of the July 7, 2004 decision in the matter 308 O 264/04.

In this case, copyright was determined to trump the statute protecting service providers. By contrast, in a Berlin case, the court found the IPS protection statute to trump non-copyright claims against a blogging service provider, see Vetter Wins One For Olbertz, nearby. Whether the Hamburg ruling stands remains to be seen.

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