German Government Approves Draft Legislation on WiFi Hotspots
The German Government has approved the controversial draft legislation on WiFi Hotspots in spite of criticism by stakeholders and consumer associations.
Operators of WiFi hotspots are confronted with severe liability risks in Germany. The proposed legislation adapting the German Telemedia Act is now aimed at limiting liability risks in order to promote the availability of WiFi hotspots. Under the new rules implementing the EU E-Commerce Directive, providers of WiFi hotspots can rely on a liability privilege and are no longer responsible for violations of the law committed by their users. In order for the liability privilege to apply operators of hotspots however have to take “reasonable measures” to secure their networks. Stakeholders and consumer associations claim that the requirement of “reasonable measures” is too restrictive. Thus for instance the industry association Bitkom faults that operators would have to provide their customers with individual access codes.
At the same time the government also wants to impose stronger obligations on host providers with regard to copyright infringement. Providers offering file hosting or cloud services for example can no longer claim lack of knowledge of copyright infringement if their services are likely to promote copyright infringement. This would be assumed for example if a business mainly comprises of copyright infringement or if a provider promotes illegal use of copyright protected material at intentional level. Critics fault that these new rules would impose unfair restrictions on host providers.
Any questions? Please contact: Pascal Schumacher
Practice Group: Telecommunications
Further reading: Telemediengesetz im Kabinett