posted Dec 15, 2000

German Hate Law: No Denying It
Free Speech
12/15/2000; 2:42:15 PM

'The court, called the Bundesgerichtshof, issued a ruling on Tuesday that overturned a lower court ruling, and found that German law applies even to foreigners who post content on the Web in other countries -- so long as that content can be accessed by people inside of Germany.'

This is unlike the French Yahoo! ruling; the French have some claim to jurisdiction because there is a Yahoo! branch in France. I wouldn't call it enough, along with a lot of other people, but at least there's basis for argument. This story appears to be a ban on content from anywhere in the world. I'll skip belaboring the obvious implications, but I would like to point out one thing about the people who support this ruling:

'But Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, applauded the court action.... "We have to commend the Germans and the French for basically saying 'in our societies, this is how we deal with the problems of hate, racism and Holocaust denial. You in America have your own laws, but at least respect our values.'"'

I'd like to point out that this issue does not re-affirm Germany's sovereigness, instead it's a direct assault on the sovereigness of Australia. This is more like Germany saying "In our societies, this is how we deal with these problems, and this is how you will deal with them too." Note the full legal story is quite complicated, which the article discusses well, but should an extradition order be filed for the website in Australia because it violates German law, I would find this scary.

(Note: Due to the international implications of this ruling, I'm not filing it as a Germany story.)


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