Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has just reminded the Higher Regional Court of Cologne (one of the courts that will hold you liable for just about anything that third parties, i.e. your children, your neighbors, the guests of your hotel etc., might do using your WLAN) that, contrary to what the Cologne Court assumed, not all legal questions have been answered. The Cologne Court had refused a request by the defendant to be granted a second appeal to the Federal Supreme Court because it assumed (for reasons no one can really understand) that the Supreme Court has already decided on the relevant legal issue. Continue reading
It has been an ongoing (if disrupted) saga since 2010, but it could be that the pending Federal Act on Employee Data Protection (we Germans simply cannot live without regulation on each and every aspect of life) will be finished and pushed through the competent legislative bodies (in 2012 even, as it has been suggested?).
So, what would be new? Well, until now we have been doing with just one, if very abstact, section in the Federal Data Protection Act. Now, we’d enjoy some 13 or so sections, each, not surprisingly, composed of several exhausting paragraphs. Fun for us lawyers, certainly! On the other hand, however, some grey areas (e.g. video surveillance, collecting telecommunications data) would actually be (somewhat) clarified. Yet, the most interesting new development is that, apparently, it would be possible Continue reading
As reported by heise, the Senate of Berlin (in its capacity as government of the Federal State of Berlin) will, it has been announced, put forward a motion in the Federal Council of Gemany (the second “half” of the federal parliamentary instutions next to the Bundestag) aiming at rewriting – or actually writing for the fist time – the law on the liability of those who operate WLANs for unlawful acts commited by other people through those WLANs. If successful, the motion could finally put an end to, or at least regulate by democratic means, some of the rather strange views that the German courts have taken over the past ten odd years regarding this particular “problem” of the Internet age. Continue reading
Now that the Google and its fellow search engines are possibly heading for a new form of liability in the UK, what’s life like for search engine providers in Germany? Well, as usual, it’s complicated.
The question of Google’s responsibility for what one may find when searching for a particular set of terms has been dealt with by a variety of court decisions on appeal court level (our “Oberlandesgerichte”) and even once by the German Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof). Interestingly, though, the problem that one would think is the most common problem that people have with the search engine phenomenon has not really been dealt with by the courts. We know that Google is generally allowed to display thumbnails of copyrighted images on its image search site. We have been informed that Google is not liable for the “snippets” that appear as a result of one’s search. But we don’t know what Google is required to do (if anything) when being informed of a clear violation of someone’s, say, protected private sphere committed on the internet and spread through tools like Google’s search engine. Continue reading