A German Politician obtained a preliminary injunction against the Wikimedia E.V. owning the German top-level domain for wikipedia and resulted in the forward to de.wikipedia.org to be suspended. Germans blinded by current antileft sentiments in the media fail to see the real problem here at hand, German law.
Wikipedia e.v. was forced to stop the forward because Lutz Heilmann brought this to court and explained that the Wikipedia entry about him contained untruthful accusations of him dropping out of university and engaging in dubious affairs within the porn industry, which apparently wasn’t the case.
When it became public that a member of the Party “Die Linke” (lit. the left) which inherited a lot of Members of the PDS successor to former GDR ruling Party SED the press and the general public was crying out loud, wrote about the lack of understanding of democratic principles by former East German politicians and the their Party. For one, the Party, while controversial had nothing to do with this, and her Member made use of his right as a citizen to protect himself from false accusations.
Being able to question wrong accusations is of course in favour of every German citizen, but what I want to criticise is how the law handles such cases, the domain wikipedia.de isn’t hosting any content, and shouldn’t be target of such rulings. Wikipedia is part of Wikimedia a non-profit organisation in the United States and therefore not liable under German law which the judge acknowledged and within his right ruled that the forward should be suspenend.
German Internet related laws are increasingly outdated and incredibly web2.0 hostile and while classic journalists, the printed media and most of television is being protected by the freedom of the press, and freedom of speech laws by some extend, Internet forums, social networks and blogs are not. There is a large number of lawyers basically living on suing their way through the blogoshpere.
Lutz Heinemann luckily abandoned his lawsuit, but he was in his right to sue the German Wikipedia e.v. and the authors of the entry about him but not every case is resolved this quickly without any notable damage to the German Internet crowd. But I doubt anything will change, as everyone seems to be focused on bashing the “Die Linke” instead of finally proposing laws that will help to deal with the reality of the Internet of the 21st Century.