German court awards damages for loss-of-Internet, says net is "crucial part of people's economic living standards"

A case before the German Federal Court of Justice has ended with a man being awarded damages for an erroneous Internet disconnection by his ISP. He sued on the grounds that being deprived of the Internet resulted in economic harm, and the court agreed:

But the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for the lost DSL line because the Internet has been a crucial part of people's economic living standards for a while now, the court ruled.

The internet is important because it offers access to information in the form of text, images, video and audio files. Almost all subjects are covered on the Internet, from light entertainment to highly scientific topics, the court said.

Because of its availability, the Internet increasingly replaces other media such as encyclopedias, magazines or TV, and it also enables a global exchange between its users via email, forums, blogs and social networks, the court said. In addition, the internet is increasingly used for the initiation and conclusion of contracts as well as for legal transactions and the fulfilment of public service obligations, it added.

Internet connection crucial to everyday life, German federal court rules [Loek Essers/IDG]

(via /.)


  1. E’erbody write down the details of this case to hand to your lawyer when it’s your turn at the plank.

  2. I love the underlying theme that taking away the interweb is akin to time-zapping someone to the stone-age.  Long live and prosper, good judge.

  3. As it should be.
    I know lots of people who supplement their incomes, or even make a living by selling online, and if they pay their bills they should be compensated when AT&T (or name your provider behemoth) drops service for an extended length of time.

    1.  ISP outages are unavoidable. Deliberate disconnects of individuals caused by ISP error or negligence, however, yeah: reasonable penalties to discourage that, and also any abuse of the N-strikes system now in place in the US.

    2. Of course, if you are running a business, you should run it in a businesslike manner:  Order a commercial grade DSL service with contracted levels of response time for an outage and/or have two separate services feeding you: cable and local DSL or satellite or a cell phone “hot spot” data connection.

      If you’re running a business on a residential connection, you’re not really running a business, you’re running a hobby.

      If your income is dependent on that connection and you have a single point of failure for that connection, then you are going to fail, sooner or later.

  4. I’m guessing a precedent like this could give ISPs incentive to force those who make copyright claims provide actual proof that the claim is valid.

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