Convicted German Murderer Wants His Conviction Erased From Wikipedia

from the bit-of-a-conflict... dept

EFF has the bizarre story of a convicted murderer in Germany who is demanding that Wikipedia censor all mentions of the guy’s name. Apparently, he (and his lawyers) are using a part of German law that allows for the protection of “names and likenesses of private persons from unwanted publicity.” However, as the EFF points out, he’s not a private person. He became a very public person when he was tried and convicted (along with his half-brother) for killing Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr. Apparently, his lawyers are going after multiple service providers, trying to get the guy’s name taken off the internet. The EFF points out that the press has published the two convicted murderers’ names for Sedlmayr’s death: Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber, and that this appears to be nothing more than an attempt to censor history across multiple borders.

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Comments on “Convicted German Murderer Wants His Conviction Erased From Wikipedia”

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42 Comments
PeteProdge (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Let me get this straight?

I’m sure we may hear from murderers Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber if that is the case. I assume they won’t want a widely-read website such as this to report on their murder of Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr, and I doubt they would want comment contributors bringing it up. So can we stop doing it okay?

Call me Al says:

This isn’t a big surprise really. The internet has publicised things further and wider then ever before. Many people (and companies) have no idea how to deal with it. They cannot hide from it but want to try. The result, as Lisa pointed out, is that they instead cause far more attention to be paid to them then previously.

Now some make use of it for their own advantage, reasoning that even bad news is advertising. However this guy presumably isn’t trying to do that (unless he has an upcoming book deal) and so I can only assume that either he, or his lawyers, are idiots. Most likely neither understand the inevitable result of this kind of action.

Have to say that prior to this I had never heard of Walter Sedlmayr, let alone Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber who murdered him. I’ll pop onto wikipedia later this evening and have a read… then possibly link to it on Facebook for anyone else who might be interested. Unless its all in German in which case I’ll never think of him again.

Pirate My Music (profile) says:

Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr's Murderers Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber

The murderers Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber who murdered Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr want the entry for Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber to be removed from Wikipedia, despite conviction in public court regarding Wolfang Werle and Manfred Lauber’s conviction for murder in the murder case of Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayer?

I think I hear Ms Streisand calling the convicted murderers Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber, unfortunately she does not speak their language. I’m sure Walter Sedlmayer wouldn’t appreicate Wolfgang Werle or Manfred Lauber trying to deny that they killed Walter Sedlmayer, if Walter Sedlmayer referred to himself in the third person, that is.

I’m glad that Techdirt has informed me of the convicted murderers Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber having a Wikipedia page regarding them and their conviction for the murder of Walter Sedlmayer. Thank you Techdirt.

MBraedley (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If he ever gets out of jail and goes looking for a job, his potential employers will probably do a google search on him, and when that search turns up a murder conviction, then they may think twice. This assumes of course that the company is stupid enough to not do a criminal background check first. Without his name plastered over the wiki and other sites, it’s possible that he could squeak by with this fact being less known. If he’s actually innocent (unlikely, but possible), then there’s the potential that these sites won’t be updated to clear his name.

Having said all that, do I think he should get his way? No, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand his reasoning.

Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I'm sorry, do you have a German law degree?

I hate to break up the Streisand party, but you baldy state that the person is a “public figure” under German law. Do you know that? I’m sure he’s a “public figure” under U.S. law, but most other countries don’t have a First Amendment (and wouldn’t call it that even if they did).

There are all kinds of laws about speech in other countries — try talking about Nazis in Germany if you want an example.

You think that this is a dumb law (probably a good point) but don’t pretend to give legal advice as to whether the person is covered by the law or not. Unless you got a German law degree when I wasn’t looking, you simply don’t know.

PeteProdge (profile) says:

Re: I'm sorry, do you have a German law degree?

TechDirt is an American site. The server is physically located in the USA. No matter if Germany were to make it illegal to even mention Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber (who murdered Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr), it would not affect this site.

You bring up mentioning the Nazis under Germany law, yet this applies only to glorifying the regime. You can of course mention “Nazis”, otherwise history book publishers would be out of business.

I’m against censorship laws, they serve no good in the long run. It’s a good thing they’re being ridiculed and ignored on this site, as well as German websites!

Still, none of this will bring Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr from the dead, as he has been murdered by murderer Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber, also a murderer.

PeteProdge (profile) says:

Well which name do you want? There’s Wolfgang Werle, Manfred Lauber and Walter Sedlmayr.

Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber were the killers, and Walter Sedlmayr was the one who got killed.

I hope that has cleared it up for you, there shouldn’t be any more need for those names to be mentioned again. Especially as it is upsetting Wolfgang Werle. Not sure about Manfred Lauber, but we know Walter Sadlmayr is unable to give an opinion, due to having been murdered by Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber.

J.D.K. says:

They did it...now its public knowledge

Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber were found guilty of murder of Walter Sedlmayr. Now they want their names to be removed from the wikipedia article so that they can go back to living regular lives as if nothing happened. The defense that they are using is defamation.
There are several defenses for defamation torts that are spelled out through various United States articles. For example, the statements made my wikipedia are simply quoted from the case and they state what the court has decided to be true. Truth is one of the biggest defenses for defamation, thus there is no case.
There is no invasion of privacy as far as I’m concerned either, so that argument is also irrelevant. It is in the greater public interest that this information be available.

Bernard says:

Can these two well known and convicted criminals move time back, having not killed our beloved and famous TV star? No, they can’t – and so their names should show what they are, two infamous and ruthless killers without mercy against their victim.
Needless to say, that I would like to support death penalty…

Kind Regards

Bernard

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