German government & CompuServe [cr-951228]


Richard Moore

>From: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>
Date:          Wed, 27 Dec 1995
Subject:       German government orders censorship of CompuServe

More on Compuserve caving to the Germans.  (I wonder how many German
Web sites are being busted by the government.)

Thought:  If Compuserv worries about complying with German law,
then the oft-made argument that foreign providers will just brush off
any U.S. "indecency" laws is questionable, is it not?



CONTACT:  William Giles                 Russ Robinson
CompuServe Incorporated              CompuServe Incorporated
           614/ 538-4388                        614/ 538-4274


COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 28, 1995 -- During the past week, CompuServe
Incorporated temporarily suspended access to more than 200 Internet
newsgroups in response to a direct mandate from the prosecutor s
office in Germany.  Each of the newsgroups that was suspended was
specifically identified to CompuServe by the German authorities as
illegal under German criminal law.  CompuServe did not select any
groups or determine the nature of the newsgroups that have been
impacted by this action.
        German government officials, as part of an investigation of illegal
material on the Internet, ordered CompuServe to do what was necessary
with respect to specified newsgroups in order to comply with German
law.  German authorities are investigating newsgroups and other
Internet content that may contain child pornography, other
pornographic material illegal for adults, as well as content that
although not illegal for adults is of such an explicit nature that it
is illegal for minors.
        While access has been suspended, CompuServe continues to work with
German authorities to resolve this matter.  CompuServe cannot alter
the content on the Internet in any way and has only suspended access
to the disputed newsgroups through CIS.  The issues being investigated
in Germany, like those being addressed across the industry, need to
remain focused on the individuals and groups placing content on the
Internet.  CompuServe, as an access provider, is not responsible for
the origination or nature of content on the Internet over which it has
no creative or editorial control.

        The global market is vital to CompuServe.  We currently have 500,000
members in Western Europe and anticipate doubling that number in the
next year. As the leading global service, CompuServe must comply with
the laws of the many countries in which we operate.  However, laws in
different countries are often in conflict, and this creates new
challenges unique to the emerging online industry.  CompuServe is
investigating ways in which we can restrict user access to selected
newsgroups by geographical location.


 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland

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