Op-ed How not to regulate social networks

How not to regulate social networks

by Nikolas Guggenberger

Last year, the Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG for short) came into force in Germany. Its principal objective is to combat hate speech on the Internet. Social networks, says the analysis on which the Act is based, had not been reacting to information from certain users, or at least not in a timely fashion, and removing unlawful content. The victims of online criminal activities, the analysis goes on to say, had not been adequately protected in the past. The Act does, therefore, deal with an important and legitimate concern. Unfortunately, that is all that can be said in favour of the regulations contained in the Act – because in fact it contravenes both European law and the German constitution. It is not fit for purpose, sets dangerous disincentives – to the detriment of freedom of opinion – and is poorly thought out from a legal point of view.


Donation from Beijing

Thanks to a generous donation from Beijing, the Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law (ITM) has been able to expand its stock of current literature on Chinese information and art law.

The ITM and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) have maintained a fruitful cooperation for decades. This cooperation is characterized by continuous intensive mutual exchange and is intensified by annual visits from China, especially by the leading Chinese professor of information and art law, Prof. Dr. Zhou Lin. Prof. Dr. Zhou Lin is the Executive Director of CASS and is actively involved in the development of Chinese copyright law.

Thanks to the intensive cooperation between ITM and CASS, one of the leading research libraries on Chinese information law has emerged at the ITM. The Chinese colleagues have therefore agreed to compile and donate a large selection of current research literature from Beijing to the ITM. This literature enables Chinese researchers to work at the ITM and European researchers to get an idea of the current research situation in China.

We would like to thank our colleagues at CASS most sincerely and look forward to further productive cooperation.