Sat, Sep. 24, 2005

American DVD = Pornography

CK - Washington.  The Düsseldorf law blog raises the issue of criminal investigations for the import of DVDs from American sources. Such imports can result in a notice of criminal investigation to the buyer. The blog lists the form used by the customs service.

The various comments to the note observe that the German age verification system, AVS, for pornography transactions on the Internet is easily and customarily circumvented by sellers in foreign countries, not only in the United States. They do not use the mandatory AVS for transactions with German buyers. The system intends to protect minors. Some doubt that such a system can ever work because it does not reach all types of delivery, for instance satellite transmissions.

One comment notes that any unrated DVD from abroad will be treated as pornographic and, therefore, result in an illegal import. The rationale is that the customs officer is not the proper authority to determine whether some content constitutes pornography or not. The investigation is directed against the seller, not the buyer but the notice to the buyer is often written in terms that cause buyers to believe they are the targets.

Export to UK, Re-Export to Iraq

.   A German export control case that resulted in a criminal conviction is the topic of a discussion in the Lichtenrader Notizen blog. A German company equipped Japanese SUVs with reinforced shielding and obtained several export licenses for the U.K. Apparently, the SUVs ended up in Iraq and successfully shielded Britons attacked there.

While the company obtained five export licenses for five vehicles, it exported 15 SUVs. As specially shielded equipment, they were subject to special controls, requiring a license for each vehicle, although the rules changed on July 1, 2005 to allow for a type license that now would cover the entire transaction.

The transaction was valued at 1.8 million Euros, and the criminal conviction requires the company to pay this amount in restitution. The sentence is being appealed.

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