German Court Tells Wikimedia Foundation That It's Liable For Things Users Write

from the that's-a-problem dept

I've spent a bit of time in Germany over the past few years, and the entrepreneurial community there is really interesting. It's become a hot place for emerging startups and there's a lot of excitement, especially in Berlin. Similarly, it appears that a number of internet activists have been flocking to Berlin. So it's become a really vibrant community of folks trying to make the internet better.

But the one thing that worries me quite a bit about the German internet scene is its very dangerous view of secondary liability -- in that German law and courts tend to lean towards blaming the intermediary for the actions of their users. I learned this the frightening way on stage at conference in Germany, under some very hot lights (in a decommissioned airport) where a somewhat angry questioner in the audience insisted that some comments written on Techdirt by some of our users were "illegal in Germany" and that, under German law, I was liable for them. He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments and demanding I answer for them, despite never having even read those comments, let alone created them. I suddenly started mentally counting down the time until my flight home. I defended secondary liability (and basic free speech concepts) and was able to leave the country without problem (and have been back a couple times since then). However, as a few people explained to me on that trip, a real hindrance to innovation in Germany is this antiquated view of secondary liability whereby sites can almost always be declared liable for actions of their users.

It appears that this tragic view has struck again -- this time against the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia. The Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart, has found that the Foundation can be held liable for content on Wikipedia. In this specific case, someone argued that some Wikipedia content was libelous. While the court says that the organization doesn't need to proactively police its content, it does say that if anything has received any sort of complaint, suddenly the Foundation can be held liable.

Of course, this is a recipe for easy censorship. If you don't like something in Wikipedia, just file a complaint, and to avoid liability, the Wikimedia Foundation will have strong incentive to delete the contested language. Of course, this goes against nearly everything that Wikipedia stands for in terms of how content gets edited on the site. Even if legally required to, it's ridiculous for a German court to basically tell the Foundation that it needs to effectively delete passages of Wikipedia editors and then block that content from being put back. Rulings like this make true user-supported media operations legally difficult to maintain, and will increasingly scare top internet companies out of Germany.

If someone posted libelous information, go after them. Putting the blame on an intermediary isn't just misguided, but it also creates a strong chilling effect on innovation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Oh hey, I got an idea...

    Why not go after Sprint, AT&T and other phone services because criminals use them to make phone calls!

    Surely that won't cause a problem, right?

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:07am

    He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments and demanding I answer for them, despite never having even read those comments, let alone created them.

    So ootb is German. Suddenly a lot of things make sense now.

    Ahem. Jokes apart, you could have replied that every bit of the site operation falls under American jurisdiction since TD has no operations in Germany and then proceeded to ask him if he would like to police thousands of comments daily looking for something that someone could subjectively think it's offensive to someone around Germany. You know, because everybody shares the same opinion.

    Could this sort of behavior be due to knee jerk reactions to the Nazism?

     

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  3.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    Ahem. Jokes apart, you could have replied that every bit of the site operation falls under American jurisdiction since TD has no operations in Germany and then proceeded to ask him if he would like to police thousands of comments daily looking for something that someone could subjectively think it's offensive to someone around Germany. You know, because everybody shares the same opinion.

    I did point out the US jurisdiction. And further pointed out that if he believed that someone had made an incorrect statement that the great thing was that he and others could correct that ignorance.

    Could this sort of behavior be due to knee jerk reactions to the Nazism?


    The comment he was referring to was about Germany's Nazi past -- and, yes, I believe that some of this is a reaction to the country's history. They're (for very good reason!) quite sensitive over that subject, and have gone above and beyond in trying to prevent that sort of thing from happening again. That's a good thing, but it shouldn't lead to blaming third parties for comments, and it shouldn't lead to stifling free speech.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:55am

    I'm curious about laws regarding false accusations . If they are accused (falsely) how would it play out in the courts

     

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  5.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Great News!

    The German gov't is know liable for your driving...since of course they obviously approve and control every bit of the 'users' using their roads, right?

     

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  6.  
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    Deranged Poster (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Nazism

    gee Germany, it's almost as though you're looking forward to bringing back Hitler and the Gestapo back into full glory.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Wikipedia reaction?

    Does anyone know anything about the reaction from either the Wikimedia Foundation or the Wikipedia community to this? I looked at it some days ago, but did not find anything in the places I looked (mailing lists, blogs, "village pump" pages, ...)

     

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  8.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:33am

    I happen to agree with the German courts on this one. What nobody realizes is that if a member on a website posts something inflammatory or they post something libel, and the owner of that website does not take adequate measures to remove that content, then the website administrator/owner SHOULD be held libel for that content.

    At the same time, I think that website owners should have a certain limited period of time to identify the libel content and to remove it within an appropriate period of time.

    Website owners should be held libel if they don't take appropriate steps to ensure that its users aren't posting such content. After all, website owners cannot immediately remove some content while denying the ability to remove other similar libel content.

     

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  9.  
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    saulgoode (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:36am

    a somewhat angry questioner in the audience insisted that some comments written on Techdirt by some of our users were "illegal in Germany" and that, under German law, I was liable for them. He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments ...
    So was the questioner arrested for doing something that was "illegal in Germany"? Or is there some reason that his sharing of the comments was legal while Techdirt's was not?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Free speech, not strong in Europe

    I thought that the Wikimedia Foundation was based in the United States.

    There are two or possibly more problems for Germany's ability to assert jurisdition.

    (1) A US service provider is immune under § 230 of the CDA.

    (2) The German law of libel is almost certainly violative of the First Amendment.

    (3) The Speech Act bars enforcement of foreign libel judgments which are inconsistent with the First Amendment.

    Just to give foreign libel laws the finger, we should set up US based libel zzones where foreign nationals can vent every libelous thought without fearing from their own country's laws.

    In Germany, there is an idiotic cause of action allowing a family member to sue for defamation of a dead person, and even public institutions, the flag and the national anthem is protected from disparagement.

    In other words, you can go to jail for saying bad things about the republic, president, flag and national anthem.

    Similar fascist laws exist in almost other European countries.

    Europe has no free speech tradition, and the First Amendment, § 230 in conjunction with Tor and IP obfuscation makes it easy to run free speech hosting from the US.

    The only area where some European nations might be better is in regard to some hardcore pornography.

    But political, racial, antireligious or offensive speech is more protected in the US by law than is the case in Europe.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:47am

    Re: Oh hey, I got an idea...

    Don't forget Ford, Toyota, and other car manufacturers, and truck manufacturers to. Think of all the billions of dollars worth of stolen goods their products have helped transport.

    And oil and gas companies helped them to, by fueling the transportation methods of all those criminals.

    We should also prosecute farmers for feeding criminals. If farmers starved criminals then there wouldn't be any criminals left!

     

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  12.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:51am

    It's a simple matter to create a mirror of Wikipedia just for Germans, and let the Germans edit that!

     

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  13.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    if a member on a website posts something inflammatory


    Posting something inflammatory is not illegal in the US.

    or they post something libel


    Here's the thing, though. Determining if something is libelous isn't so easy. Insulting or defamatory remarks aren't necessarily libel -- in the US, truth is an absolute defense, and opinion is protected.

    What you're saying is that website owners must incur the significant expense to research and/or get legal assistance to determine if something really should be taken down or not. In effect what you're asking for is the end of any real user comments or user-generated content except in forums run by major corporations who could afford it.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    It exists: https://de.wikipedia.org/, and this court decision is in fact about it, from what I could find so far.

     

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  15.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:05am

    Personal responsibility

    This really is a puzzling attitude in light of Europeans' attitudes toward personal responsibility. To wit: visiting a medium-sized city on the Swiss/German border, my expat friend took us to a popular mountaintop viewing area, looking down on the town. Only problem... no guardrails, fences, or ropes surrounding the crumbling slope. In the euro-view, my host explained, if something happens, it's generally your own damn fault. Whatever it was... it's no one else's responsibility, not government's, just your own. Why would this be different? The content creator bears responsibilty, and not an intermediary.

     

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  16.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:14am

    What you guys are forgetting is that Europe is not in the United States. Since Wikipedia has created a German portal, they are responsible for the content posted on their site.

    Wikipedia has a responsibility to follow the laws of other countries and if a court finds that a website can be held liable then the owner of that website either needs to block Germany from accessing Wikipedia or start monitoring what its users are posted.

    For those who say that Wikipedia doesn't do this, your argument is non-existent. Because Wikipedia already logs every change made to its website and they have thousands of assigned moderators and editors who actively monitor their website.

     

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  17.  
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    Sunhawk (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Well, if they keep that up, access to wikipedia from Germany will re-route to a notice explaining that they are not able to comply with current German law regarding secondary liability at this time. Plus the details of this and similar cases.

    That should be interesting ^^

     

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  18.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:30am

    Wikipedia NEVER DELETES ANYTHING EVER.

    The current iteration of an article can be changed, but all previous versions, including vandalized ones are archived as historical documents.

    It's going to present some interesting problems if courts hold Wikimedia accountable for what's in their archives.

    Frankly, I think blocking Wikipedia from German access for a month would probably solve the problem right quick.


    As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
    Encrypted with Morbius-Cochrane Perfect Steganographic Codec 1.2.001
    Monday, December 02, 2013 11:30:06 AM
    lover rescue massage toothbrush bowl religion parish beard

     

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  19.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise. I think the argument is that the German position is not in the best interest of all concerned.

     

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  20.  
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    Cerberus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re: Personal responsibility

    That's not entirely the same thing, but I like your way of thinking. Perhaps the government should not be involved in libel at all? People can simply defend themselves by posting their own arguments elsewhere on the Internet, and readers must decide for themselves.

    One reason why governments might want to get involved, however, is that it is easier for you to set up a campaign of libel against someone if you are rich and powerful. You can pay people and companies to spread the word, make advertisements. So that might be where a government might want to level the playing field, as it were.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    That's a good thing, but it shouldn't lead to blaming third parties for comments, and it shouldn't lead to stifling free speech. 

    The problem is that all Germany's laws regulating free speech fall short of American standards.

    This goes back even further than 1945.

    Defamation is not only civilly actionable but a crime for which you may go to jail.

    Germany has the strange notion of collective defamation -- statements impugning the reputation of a group without the statement being of and concerning an identifiable person.

    So sayin that lawyers are criminals, or that Poles are monkeys is likely legally actionable.

    Under the First Amendment only an identifiable indivvidual may recover for defamation, and if the said is on a matter of public concern the plaintiff must prove the implied fact is false.

    But Germany is not alone. The UK, France, and virtually every other nation in Europe censors speech to
    an extend unthinkable in the US.

     

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  22.  
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    JMT (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    "What nobody realizes is that if a member on a website posts something inflammatory or they post something libel, and the owner of that website does not take adequate measures to remove that content, then the website administrator/owner SHOULD be held libel for that content."

    Actually quite a lot of people realise that the website administrator/owner should not be held LIABLE for that content posted by others. It has been explained many times at great length why this is such a bad thing, including in this article.

    You do realise that liable and libel are two quite different words right?

     

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  23.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:58am

    When a website owner is not doing anything to curb the behavior of inappropriate content, then the owner of the site SHOULD be held liable. After all, website owners all around the world are being held liable for the content posted by their members.

    This all started with bit torrent and filesharing sites. Did anyone honestly believe that courts would keep that contained to just filesharing sites?

     

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  24.  
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    Cerberus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:58am

    German justice system

    @Mike One thing to consider is that it's not so bad to be liable in Germany as compared to America. Any potential punishment or fine will be a lot more reasonable.

    What is more, I would not expect a German court to ever actually punish you if there is content on your website that is libelous, unless you ignore the verdict. And the verdict will always be "now that the other party has provided real proof that this is libelous, you must remove the content within x days or pay a daily fine". So for you, as a website, it is always safe to not act on complaints unless the a judge tells you to. So there is a significant barrier for complainants.

    Further, it is easier and less expensive to defend yourself in a German court: courts are more active than in the common-law system, so you probably won't have to do anything if the complainant has no real proof accepted by the court as such: then the judge will acquit you. I imagine in some other countries you may be convicted if you do nothing, even if the complainant can't really prove anything.

     

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  25.  
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    JMT (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    "Wikipedia has a responsibility to follow the laws of other countries and if a court finds that a website can be held liable then the owner of that website either needs to block Germany from accessing Wikipedia..."

    Excellent suggestion. Wikipedia should not be forced to operate under legal threat from one country with outdated laws on secondary liability. Perhaps if Wikipeia was blocked in Germany for a while, a couple of million grumpy German Wikipedia fans might be able to show the government the error of their ways.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    when are you Mike, and everyone else going to realise that stifling innovation and removing fair use are the main aims of all the branches of the entertainment industries. they are lobbying extra hard now via negotiations like TPP to attain just that. how else can the old farts in charge of these industries maintain their strangle holds and prevent progress? every time there is a new item of technique released, the entertainment industries are on it, stopping it, like flies on shit! they dont even attempt to start their own version of anything similar to what they have just stopped or go into some sort of partnership with the original people, showing 100% convincingly that the whole aim is to stop progress and keep what they have controlled for the last however many decades, pre-internet and digital technology, exactly how it has, in their eyes, always been and always meant to be. funny how they always manage to ignore that they are at the point they are because of the innovation and technology available at that time, isn't it!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Re:German justice system

    The German substantive law of libel is very different from what is protected speech under the First Amendment.


    Under the German Criminal Code, insults to honor and defamation of the dead is punishable, whereas in the United States only false statements of facts may be punishable.

    So in the US, you can legally state that someone who is dead was a nazi war criminal, but in Germany you may be sued or even imprisoned for defaming a dead person.

    Also refer to § 90 of the German Criminal Code.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:26pm

    Selective Enforcement?

    "He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments..."

    So, did the German authorities then rush up and arrest the owner of the microphone? Or does such liability just apply to Americans?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re:

    "That's a good thing, but it shouldn't lead to blaming third parties for comments, and it shouldn't lead to stifling free speech."

    Because that's the kind of thing Nazis would do.

     

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  30.  
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    ldne, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    I happen to agree with the German courts on this one.

    Which makes you as silly as they are. this is the 21st century, there are literally thousands to millions of comments on a typical large website and it is as impractical and impossible to police their content as it is to police an individual on a sidewalk carrying on a conversation. Even if you delete a comment, or even bar a user, they can be back inside of 15 minutes under another name or repost their comment elsewhere on the site or in the article comments. Not to mention the fact that making a fuss inevitably ends up with the offending comments being driven to the top of the rankings and likely being reposted elsewhere on line.

     

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  31.  
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    David (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Based on their decision, it stands to reason that if I stand in a German government building and yell a bunch of "inappropriate" stuff then the German government is liable for my comments.

     

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  32.  
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    David (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    Same problem still exists. Only the source changes.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re:

    I happen to agree with the German courts on this one. What nobody realizes is that if a member on a website posts something inflammatory or they post something
    libel, and the owner of that website does not take adequate measures to remove that content, then the website administrator/owner SHOULD be held libel
    for that content.

    Fortunately, it is not the law in the US.

    Read § 230 of the CDA and the caselaw interpreting it.

    An online service has absolute, and it's absolute, immunity from civil liability for content written by others.

    And this is good, because even if someone makes a complaint, the online service can't know if a statement is libelous.

    Under the First Amendment, tarnishing another's reputation or good name is not actionable, unless the statement implies a matter of fact capable of being proven true or false.

    If the person is a public figure, or the matter is of public concern, the plaintiff must always prove the allegation is false.

    if I run a forum, and a user posts a message claiming that John Doe is a pedophile, drug addict or tax cheater, I have no opportunity to ascertain truth or falsit, and there is no easy way by which truth or falsity can be deduced from the message.

    Nor should it be my problem.

    Of course, if the law of defamation is different -- putting the burden on the defendant to prove truth or good faith -- I could see the point in requiring the owner to take adequate action.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Wikipedia NEVER DELETES ANYTHING EVER.

    If you believe "Wikipedia never deletes anything", I take it you never heard of the oversight system.

    Normal Wikipedia admins can delete not only whole pages, but also previous versions of it, selectively. In the past, this was done by deleting the whole page and undeleting all the revisions except the ones you wanted to hide; I believe there is a simpler method now. Other Wikipedia admins can see the deleted content, and undo the deletion if it was made in error.

    Oversight goes deeper than that. Not even Wikipedia admins can see content that was oversighted. Only a select few have access to the oversight system.

     

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  35.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    When a website owner is not doing anything to curb the behavior of inappropriate content, then the owner of the site SHOULD be held liable. After all, website owners all around the world are being held liable for the content posted by their members.


    Not in the United States.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act

    You realize (well maybe you don't, based on your previous comments) that you wouldn't have been able to post your comment here without Section 230 in place, right? Web 2.0 wouldn't exist at all because of the liability concerns.

     

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  36.  
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    MAC, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    Liable...

    Der Führer would approve...

     

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  37.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 3:40pm

    Response to: kenichi tanaka on Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:33am

    1) that's all well and good, but you give no reason for your insistence that secondary liability is necessary.

    2) please learn the difference between "libel" and "liable". They are two different words that mean very different things.

    3) bonus: learn how word endings can turn nouns into adjectives.

    P.S. kudos for not using an apostrophe for possessive "its".

     

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  38.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Wikipedia NEVER DELETES ANYTHING EVER.

    I was going to make a similar suggestion: anybody who gets threatened by the German gov't's attempts at censorship through intimidation -- or indeed, anybody's -- start blocking access to that country's IP addresses. Enough of that and they might start to feel isolated.

     

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  39.  
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    Manok, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    Why does Wikipedia not try to remove (hide/disable) ALL its German language content AND disable access from Germany for a while? It would seem pretty obvious that the public outrage from that will quickly change any court ruling, OR have politicians rush a new law through.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Response to: kenichi tanaka on Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Please, Jeffrey, learn something about capitalizing the first word in a sentence.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Wikipedia NEVER DELETES ANYTHING EVER.

    IIRC there has already been a German court decision a few years back (I think something about links to porn sites) where the court ruled that contents of archived versions aren't a problem because the content is hidden away from the average user and you have to actively search through archived versions to find such content.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:20pm

    Re:

    Blocking Wikipedia to Germans would indeed cause some uproar, but it sure as hell wouldn't change the ruling nor would it cause the Bundestag to change the laws (not without hundreds of thousands of people on the streets protesting). And the German Wikipedia community would get pissed at Wikimedia and just fork the project, continuing without them.

     

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  43.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 1:44am

    Re:

    "When a website owner is not doing anything to curb the behavior of inappropriate content"

    How does inappropriate content behave?

    "then the owner of the site SHOULD be held liable"

    Why? You state that it's happening, but you don't give any reason why this is acceptable.

    "Did anyone honestly believe that courts would keep that contained to just filesharing sites?"

    No, which is one of the many reasons why I opposed the actions then, even in the face of lies about my motives for doing so. Sadly, my opinions and votes have no sway over German court decisions.

     

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  44.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re:

    "then the website administrator/owner SHOULD be held libel"

    Several people in this thread have stated so, but I've never heard a compelling argument as to why this should be. You then contract yourself here:

    "Nor should it be my problem."

    So, which is it? Should it be your problem (in which case, why?) or not? If you're just saying it's right in Germany but not right in the US, why do you support this difference?

     

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  45.  
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    avideogameplayer, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 2:15am

    Fuck Germany amd the horse they rode in on...

     

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  46.  
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    Rekrul, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 2:26am

    So if I go to Germany and get hit by a car, can I sue the government for providing the road that the car was driving on?

     

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  47.  
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    Pragmatic, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 5:46am

    It is as unreasonable as it is illogical to hold one person responsible for another's behavior. What they're trying to do is create a class of "approved speech" to limit what we can or can't say. While I understand Europeans' desire to keep speech clean and decent, there's a very thin line between "unpopular" and "unacceptable."

    And stifling unpopular speech won't make it go away, it simply drives it underground.

    Authoritarianism is a real threat to freedom and democracy. Let's not let their mealy-mouthed excuses convince us otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re:

    AFIAK the problem is that there is a site wikipedia.de, which simply forwards you to de.wikipedia.org. Thats enough reason for the german courts to declare the de..org site a german site so, and if they would simply drop the .de site they could do all that crazy stuff like for example using puplic domain images the other wikipedias use or not nanny every usercomment etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: wikipedia.de

    Incorrect, the final destination of where the content is hosted is what designates a site locality. Even then, the headquarters location of the company owning the site is the local laws governing it and not the location of the server.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:13am

    What I find surprising is there is a lot of "Block Germany, Block Germany!" encouragement yet that would involve the very reason this article topic is despised: censorship.

    I disagree, wikipedia shouldn't block Germany but simply ignore the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Re:

    Yeah buddy the topic of discussion is whether this law makes any SENSE. Given that the courts can go after the person who is doing the libeling, why kill the socially beneficial messenger?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 9:39am

    German Court Tells Wikimedia Foundation That It's Liable For Things Users Write

    This decision sure has created a furor. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk….

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    pseudoruprecht, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    As some already mentioned: just block access to Wikipedia from Germany for some time and see what happens.

    Then go think again what makes sense in this time and age and what doesn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 7:53pm

    LOL.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    fenixbrood (profile), Dec 4th, 2013 @ 2:10am

    Re: Great News!

    Well, the road does not drive you over and nobody is jamming the road over you. And if you are falling on a road, that is not cleared for snow or leafs, then you can get compensating for when you fall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    fenixbrood (profile), Dec 4th, 2013 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re: Oh hey, I got an idea...

    You can sue in America for that. If they know that the goods will be used or is likley to commit a crime.

    If you say to FedEx "I have a bomb and I want it delivered" that is a crime to ship that bomb.

    If you try to launder money thru a bank and the bank suspects that you are doing that, they are liable for that.

    The reason that Wikipedia is liable is that they are publishing it without checking the content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    fenixbrood (profile), Dec 4th, 2013 @ 2:27am

    Re: Re: wikipedia.de

    In Sweden we have that a diffrent view. It does not matter where the content is hosted what matters is the targeted audience. If it is written in swedish and the targeted audience is Swedish then the act falls under swedish law.

    Think of all the hacking cases: If a foreinger hack a computer in you country, do want that person to be liable according to your laws or the country shes in?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Dec 5th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re:

    You do realise that liable and libel are two quite different words right?

    I actually suspect that this may be a spellchecker typo. I.e., the person types "lible", and the spellchecker autocorrects it to "libel", since that's a closer match (swap two letters rather than insert a letter) than "liable".

    That's no excuse for not catching it on review before posting, but it would help explain the prevalence of the error.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Dec 5th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure that was a case of poor quoting. The first (badly split) paragraph, which included the first line you quoted, was quoted from another comment further up the page; the rest, including the second line you quoted, seems to have been this new AC's response to that paragraph.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Sven Haile (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Food for thought

    The author does not look at the issue in full. Reputation damage is one of the most unpredictable risks and usually also affects many related parties of the target subject, thus it is a very complex area commercially and socially.

    To summarise the content of the article, a website is facilitating an anonymous attack of a third party by an unspecified user, and the author of the article wants to see this practice protected, particularly in the jurisdiction of the alleged victim and giving the victim appropriate rights to defend itself.

    How is the threatened subject going to defend itself against a cowardly attacker who is hosted or protected by somebody else? The USA under G.W. Bush and Barack Obama knew the answer and it wasn't by advice from Germany.

    Clearly, service or product providers have to be held accountable for the information they are facilitating or helping of spreading, or alternatively they can go after or disclose the source of the threatening information.

    In this sense, the author could have simply said 'I am only the service provider of information, and the unaffiliated voice behind those allegedly illegal comments is the *identified user* named ...' This is exactly how the Swiss banks are resolving the pressure by the US government in the banks' facilitation of tax evasion under US law. And neither the US nor the Swiss are acting by advice from Germany.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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