01/16/2012 : GERMAN ISPs DON'T HAVE TO BLOCK ONLINE GAMBLING SITES
Cologne Administrative Court takes a refreshingly new look at a contentious subject
The Cologne Administrative Court in Germany made a positive ruling this week that Internet Service Providers do not have to block online gambling sites, even where these are technically illegal in Germany, reports the publication Techdirt.
The ruling, handed down last Thursday, is certain to cause ripples in European legal circles, which have seen courts in other countries order ISPs to help apply enforcement pressure.
The original report on the ruling appeared in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which recounted that the court had found that ISP Deutsche Telekom must allow access to online betting sites, even if they are illegal in Germany.
The court's decision reaffirms previous rulings late last year in which a Dusseldorf judge ruled that ISPs Vodafone and Telekom were not responsible for the content of Web sites, because they played no role in selecting material, and therefore should not be forced to block access.
German legal observers noted that the rulings establish strong precedents in Germany, and perhaps elsewhere in the European Union, shielding ISPs from arbitrary official demands that they block or even censor certain websites.
However, the cases may yet be taken on appeal by the authorities.