German Censors Indict CompuServe Official
Published: 1997-02-26

On February 26, a CompuServe official was indicted for providing access to objectionable materials on the Internet. German prosecutors indicted Felix Somm, the Managing Director of CompuServe operations in Germany and Central Europe, for allegedly distributing "illegal pornography" and "other materials." This marks the first case in which an indictment was rendered against a service provider for merely providing access to materials on the Internet.

The charges against Somm are based on two distinct events. He is charged with being an accessory to the dissemination of pornography because CompuServe provided access to Internet newsgroups that contained sexually explicit materials in 1995 and 1996. He is also charged with having distributed a computer game which contained swastikas and images of Adolf Hitler, which are today banned in Germany. The German thought-police will go to any length to censor these images from their recent past.

German prosecutors have based their indictment on the idea that CompuServe could have utilized a form of self-censorship by blocking access to "objectionable" areas on the net. The message of the thought-police is clear. Censor or block access to "objectionable" materials or face the wrath of the German "injustice" system.


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Author(s): CODOH
Title: German Censors Indict CompuServe Official
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Published: 1997-02-26
First posted on CODOH: Feb. 24, 1997, 6 p.m.
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