The cost of removing a pictureMonday, 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.