Data protection in Austria

Mr Lukas Moormann (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration) gave a highly regarded lecture to the ITM on data protection in Austria on Monday, 7 February 2022. In front of the broad audience, he explained the constitutional foundations up to the ECHR. Then he described the legal process in matters of data protection, especially in constitutional matters. Finally, he discussed, among other things, data protection for legal persons. A successful lecture!

Fair data spaces in Münster

On Saturday 5 February 2021, the first workshop of the BMBF research network Fair data spaces took place with large participation of researchers from all over Germany. The main focus was on the intellectual property and data protection issues of the use of cross-border cloud platforms in the context of NFDI and GaiaX. The workshop took place as part of a three-day event of the law faculty on AI and law and was led by Professor Dr Franziska Böhm (KIT Karlsruhe) and Professor Dr Thomas Hoeren (ITM Münster). Among other things, they spoke about the new EU regulations in the area of data mining, the new provisions of the first drafts of the EU Data Act and the question of rights ownership in trade secrets. In terms of data protection law, the main topics were data protection issues in function creep, information as a basic concept of data protection law and the significance of codes of conduct in European data protection law. All these controversial topics gave rise to a lively dialogue and numerous questions from the audience. Our special thanks go to the speakers. We look forward to the next meeting.

Lecture Prof. Rostalski on AI and Law

On Monday, 31 January 2021, Prof. Dr. Dr. Frauke Rostalski gave a lecture on the question “Can AI replace humans in jurisprudence and the administration of justice?” as part of the focus lecture on information law. Professor Rostalski holds the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Philosophy of Law and Comparative Law at the University of Cologne and is a member of the German Ethics Council.

By way of introduction, Ms Rostalski problematised the problems of current case law, in particular the regional differences in sentencing for comparable offences, which jeopardise the acceptance of court rulings.

As a possibility of using artificial intelligence in jurisprudence, Ms Rostalski differentiated between simple decision-support software and the complete replacement of human application of the law by so-called “Iudex et machina”. Prof. Rostalski assessed the latter with regard to its efficiency and the lack of bias of artificial intelligence, but criticised the accompanying positivism, the lack of transparency and the resulting responsibility deficit.

The lecture was rounded off with an exciting discussion and Q&A session.

We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Dr. Rostalski for this exciting lecture and hope to welcome her again.

Podcast on armenian copyright law

In this new episode of the ITM Podcast, our research assistant Justin Rennert talks to Coco Aro about Armenian copyright law. Coco, a high school student from Münster, has been doing a student internship at the ITM for the past two weeks. He has Armenian roots and speaks the Armenian language. For this reason, he set himself the goal for his time at the ITM of comparing Armenian copyright law with German copyright law. The results of his extensive research and a short internship report can be found in the new episode of the ITM podcast. We say: Hats off to this achievement! This was a student internship on a very high level. A short summary of the podcast in Armenian can be found from minute 19:50 onwards. Coco plans to study law after his Abitur. The internship at ITM has confirmed his wish. We are looking forward to possibly welcoming Coco as a staff member at our institute in the not too distant future.

Fair data spaces

The exchange of data between science and business is becoming increasingly important. For this reason, the FAIR-Data Spaces project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is creating a common cloud-based data space. The data exchange is to comply with the so-called FAIR principles, according to which data must be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
The responsible ITM staff members Julian Große-Ophoff, Klaus Palenberg and Max Husmann are assessing the protection of industrial and research data under intellectual property law. In addition, codes of conduct are drafted and existing compliance regulations are reviewed in the light of copyright, secrecy and patent law.

Click here for the introduction video.

Click here for the website.

Zalando and competition law

On 18 January 2022, Dr Anselm Rodenhausen, Head of Antitrust & Distribution Law within the legal department of Zalando, gave a one-hour zoom lecture on the topic of “Challenges for online platforms”.

Dr Rodenhausen has dealt with competition law in the digital sector in various positions over the last ten years: During his time as a lawyer in the Brussels office of Freshfields, he advised international tech companies. As Legal & Policy Officer at the European Commission (DG CONNECT), he was involved in the development of the EU strategy for the Digital Single Market. At the ITM, Dr Rodenhausen completed his doctorate on a media competition law topic and a Master’s degree at Oxford University.

In the first part of the lecture, Dr Rodenhausen went into the special features of digital markets. On the one hand, these differ from conventional markets by their size: the physical proximity to the customer becomes relative. On the other hand, digital markets are characterised by their network effects and scalability.

Dr. Rodenhausen linked to these special features by outlining the (legal) challenges for online platforms. Among other things, the unclear market boundaries, the data-relatedness as well as the strong expansion of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) would pose challenges for online platforms.

Finally, Dr. Rodenhausen took a “deep dive” into the national and European legal framework for online platforms. In doing so, he saw Germany as a “trendsetter” in this area, which had adopted innovative regulations, for example, with the NetzDG and Section 19a GWB. The recent finding by the Federal Cartel Office that Google is of “overriding importance for competition across markets” within the meaning of Section 19a (1) GWB shows the effectiveness of the new provision. At the European level, too, the Digital Markets Act is a set of rules for the regulation of online platforms. In the area of data sharing, a reform project of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Vertical Guidelines with detailed regulations is planned at European level for 2022. Dr Rodenhausen also referred to the less detailed German Section 32c (4) GWB n.F., which, however, provides for an important right to an official decision.

We sincerely thank Dr Rodenhausen for the exciting and instructive lecture!


Seminar on Austrian and German internet law

The ITM is pleased to announce that Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren, together with Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Forgó from Vienna, will be able to organise a seminar on “Comparison between German and Austrian Internet Law” in the coming summer semester. The seminar is to take place in Vienna – the Corona pandemic permitting. The binding preliminary meeting with topic allocation will take place virtually via Zoom on Monday, 10 January 2022, at 17:00. If you would like to participate in the seminar, attendance at the preliminary meeting is mandatory. Please refer to the linked document for the dial-in dates and further information on the schedule as well as the topics:

Announcement Seminar: Comparison between German and Austrian Internet Law.

If you are interested, we would appreciate it if you would send a short e-mail ( to Prof. Hoeren beforehand. Then better planning is possible.