The cost of removing a picture

Monday, December 4, 2006 at 20:27 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, Freedom of speech, Germany, internet, Legal | 7 Comments

As I wrote a few weeks ago, excercising the constitutional right to freedom of speech is problematic if you are a blogger in Germany. By publishing anything controversial, a blogger has a substantial risk of having to pay inflated legal fees if somebody hires a lawyer to undertake legal action against a post published by the blogger. In that post I mentioned a lawsuit by the German Minister of Environment Sigmar Gabriel against Marcel Bartels.

The minister is suing Marcel for legal costs to the amount of 756,09 €. That is to cover his lawyer’s bill for drafting a cease and desist letter for publisging a photo which Marcel would have agreed to remove from his site anyway. A lower court in Hamburg will hear the case tomorrow afternoon.

I do not have the slightest idea as to what the Hamburg court may rule about the disputed legal bill. The minister certainly spared money (albeit not his own, at least willingly) and trouble to get this picture off the web. He would have gotten his way even without spending 756,09 € on it.

But now that this issue has become a matter of priciple, he may just as well learn that the picture is kind of sticky. There is no fat chance in the World that somebody like Sigmar Gabriel could tell the World Wide blogging community what to publish or not. So the picture will stay in the web and there is very little the mighty minister can do about it.


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  1. […] More shameless remarks by Larko My voice in the Web – about anything and everything, sometimes even nothing « The cost of removing a picture […]

  2. Thankyou for the wonderful post. Now I wonder who will sue me for what…are they not taking all kind of freedom of speech in blogs in Germany 😦

  3. I do not think you have s great risk of getting sued , neither for your blog nor for posting a comment in mine because these blogs are not under German jurisdiction. And I would certainly not disclose your IP. 😉

  4. Hi Larko,

    Thanks for your support.

    This ist funny!

  5. These days nobody knows when one might need some support oneself, sad as it is.

    Yes it is funny. I just read yesterday that somebody in Norway had been convicted to serve one month in prison for throwing a cake in the face of the Norwegian Minister of Finance. But I guess doing it virtually does not qualify for prison time. Well, maybe in Germany but not in Norway. 😉

  6. Thank you for your support and reply. But I think though these blogs are not in German jurisdiction still I have to be careful to put the stuff which has legal (reserved) rights. German lawyers may get my IP if not from you then maybe in some other way 🙂 . I believe they can be nasty anytime.

  7. I would not speculate in public about hypothetical chances of German lawyers to obtain priviliged information like an IP. They might be surprised, though, to learn that methods they use every day to harrash people in Germany would be highly illegal elsewhere. .-)

    Having said that, I would naturally not suggest anybody to post anything illegal or unappropriate.

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