Links remain legal/”Mein Parteibuch” und Links

It was no surprise to anyone when the Berlin Landgericht decided this week that it is permissible for a website to name and link another site and to name someone who takes part in public exchange of opinions. The German American Law Journal Weblog reports:

bq. The outcome is well-earned and the grounds are well-founded in the copyright law and the law of names. Any surprise is limited to plaintiff’s belief to have had a case which became known as the Mein Parteibuch dispute.

But just a moment – it was a surprise to some people in the USA, as this email I received shows (from one ‘Ed.’ – Edward, I presume):

bq. Hello Margaret,
This is good news for German bloggers, indeed. Whew!
Hopefully, that is all the legal authority you need to link to Blawg
Review under “Weblog collections” in the sidebar of Transblawg. :-)
C’mon Margaret, pleeese. Our project is blawgworthy. Thanks, if you’d
be so kind as to include Blawg Review in your blogroll.
We’re looking to encourage more global participation in Blawg Review,
and would appreciate your support.

Actually, I did originally list the blawg review, which was a blawg reviewing law reviews, but that is no longer updated. This is another Blawg Review, a very bouncy and cheerful sort of thing, reviewing blawgs.

Building in Munich/Was für ein Gebäude entsteht hier in München?

Does anyone know what this building with the golden pustule on top is going to be? It is going up next to the Arena in Munich, so I presume it has something to do with the World Cup (Fußball WM 2006 – there, I said it, now at least a German court has permitted it.):


LATER NOTE: I know a commenter has already told me what this is, but I haven’t added that here. Now (April 2009), I gather it is a Faulturm (digester tower or digestion tower). Here’s one in Fürth.

Meanwhile, something else to do with the World Cup:



This will be recognized in Britain as a Müller corner, although I don’t know if they have a Corner of the Month there.

Lawyers’ obituaries / Nachrufe 2

As usual, I gather from the comments that some who do not wish to have their own weblog nevertheless feel there is something missing here.

You can get lots of further obituaries via Google. For Lord Ackner’s swimming (see comment to earlier entry), The Telegraph is the source:

bq. Slim, with a dark complexion, Ackner loved the open air and insisted on swimming in his pool in the most inclement weather. He also sailed his own yacht, gardened, enjoyed the theatre and collected antiques.

The Guardian adds:

bq. Ackner’s father was Dr Conrad Ackner, a Viennese Jewish dentist who came to Britain before the first world war, treated members of the British royal family and Queen Maud of Norway, and collected elephants’ tusks.

I can’t find a reference to him talking to Holborn Law College though.

Lawyers’ obituaries / Juristennachrufe

Obituaries in the Times Online.

Thomas Blanco White:

bq. Always a robust individualist, when he became a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn he was the first to arrive in leathers and Doc Martens. His powerful mind was untempered by any element of the common touch, nor did he ever cultivate a bedside manner. … He was a man of very diverse abilities with a good knowledge of Russian and German. A great gardener, he grew many rare plants and shrubs, and translated Russian works on irises. His technical ability led him to make his own hi-fi equipment and many sophisticated pieces of electronic apparatus.

Lord Ackner:

bq. Ackner sometimes allowed his language to become florid. When speaking in the High Court for two thalidomide victims, he chose to quote from Richard III, describing his clients as “cheated of feature by dissembling nature, deform’d, unfinish’d”.

Justice Mella Carroll (Ireland):

bq. She was immensely popular and blended effortlessly with her male colleagues who regarded her as one of the boys. She exuded no dissatisfaction with how things were. … For ten years Miss Justice Carroll was content to be addressed as “my lord” by barristers in her court. Only in 1990, after she was appointed chairwoman of the Commission on the Status of Women, did she announce that she would prefer to be called “judge”, rejecting peremptorily the suggestion of an elderly senior counsel that he should address her as “madam”. …Mella Carroll never married. She was, she claimed with a characteristic twinkle, an unclaimed treasure.

Judge Angelica Mitchell:

bq. Lucky were the nights that you could reach her directly on the telephone. “The person you are calling knows you are waiting”, was the sound you heard most often when you rang. … Any money she ever had was spent on holidays, often in the company of five or six other families. She was a demon at tennis and no mean bodysurfer.

Anus motion/Übersetzungsprobleme

Matthew Baldwin of The Morning News reports – or reported – that Spanish-speaking drivers have been getting out of drunk driving cases because of a deficiency in Spanish-language cards used by traffic cops:

bq. “But the defense somehow got a copy of the Spanish language card that the officer read from, and noticed that the little squiggle was missing from above an ‘n’ in the sentence: ‘¿Tiene veinteuno años?’ In English that literally translates to ‘Do you have 21 years?’—in other words, this was just a routine question to make sure the guy was an adult.

This sounds apocryphal, but I can’t trace it at Snopes. But parts sound convincing:

bq. “The best part is that the defense attorney can’t even bring himself to say the word ‘anus.’ Instead, he calls it ‘the back region.’ We’re going in front of a judge next week, and I’m going to make a point of saying the word ‘anus’ as many times as I can during the proceeding. I even got them to call the legal brief ‘The Anus Motion,’ so he won’t even be able to refer to it by title.

Here’s a warning for those interviewing and writing about Latinos.

(Via the Forensic Linguistics mailing list)

Hoover /Marken in der EU

The European Court of Justice calendar for today:

bq. Third Chamber

09.30 : Hearing C-321/03 Dyson
Approximation of laws
Interpretation of Article 3(3) of Directive 89/104/EEC: First Council Directive of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks – Mark comprising a functional feature (transparent plastic cylinder) forming part of a hoover [sic]

(Pointed out by IPKat)

At least they didn’t call it a dyson.
I remember a student in a dictation referring to small birds hoovering over the meadows, but further curious usage is touched on in Wiktionary. I don’t think the noun is generic, is it, even if the verb may be?

Hamburg decision on forum liability

The Hamburg Landgericht (a bit like the High Court in England and Wales) recently published the grounds for its December decision in what we might call Mario Dolzer v. Heise Verlag. Here’s how The Register put it:

bq. A Hamburg court has ruled that moderators of internet forums are liable for content posted on their sites.
The previous interpretation held that they were only accountable for illegal content they had been made aware of. The new ruling means if operators do not have enough in-house resources to monitor forums, they should “reduce the scope of their business operations”.

I read the decision and some commentaries on it. It’s being appealed, so it isn’t final. Still, I don’t really know:

how far its reach is (Sascha Kremer suggests it is about forums with editorial content)

whether it affects forums without a foot in Germany (it seems clear there are lawyers in Germany permitted and inclined to make like difficult for all and sundry, but would a Welsh rugby forum have difficulties here?)

will a lot of weblog owners with controversial discussions be sued, whether or not successfully?

what is the effect of what I would call a lot of obiter dicta in a country theoretically without a system of precedent? (Actually there is a lot of judge-made law in Germany, just as there was in the Gründerjahre)

Here is the decision in German (with typos)
Heise in English
The German American Law Journal Blog in English (headed ‘Massively chilled speech’ – but surely what Heise permitted was the equivalent of shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre?=
Sascha Kremer in German (was also on lawblog)
Dr. Martin Bahr in German