Germany kills daft internet law

German federal state Northrhine-Westphalia has voted against the ill-conceived and much criticised Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV), a law which proposed adding age certificates and broadcast times to .de sites. After all, what works for tellies ought to work for all that new-fangled new media stuff, right?

Northrhine-Westphalia’s Social Democrat / Green coalition government was actually going to vote for the law. During a party convention, the Greens opted against the law, yet the faction in the state coalition government said they’d vote for it because the coalition agreement told them to. Sorry voters.

Things were looking bleak, but yesterday the state’s Christian Democrats and Free Democrats stated they would vote against the ill-born law. Greens and Social Democrats toppled over after this was announced. The coalition did not want to be blamed for voting for the law, but at the same time was able to blame the opposition for falling through.

There was a rather amusing blame-game this midday, as the state coalition, which did want to vote for the law, said if Christian Democrats hadn’t come up with this law at the federal level then there wouldn’t have been such a hassle in the last few weeks. So if the law was that bad, why on earth did the coalition want to vote for it in the first place?!

In the end, the CDU and FDP opposition can be lauded for changing its mind, whereas the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and SPD coalition government can say whatever they want, they still look like idiots for wanting to vote for it. As a matter of fact, playing a farcical, political blame-game makes them even look like even greater twits.

There is really nothing you can blame anyone for if a bad law falls through. In view of the whole political farce surrounding the law, it is likely Germany’s Piratenpartei will stand to benefit.

Earlier this month, various blogs and websites in German said they’d quit, as the law was deemed to bring them cease & desist writs, fines and other niceties. German internet law mega-boffin Prof. Thomas Hoeren from the University of Muenster stated in his blog the law read as if it were written by legal dyslexics who managed to pass law exams at a C-grade uni after several attempts. 

Hoeren also blasted the text for containing wording which reminded him of pedagogues, not law boffins. Germany is rather paternalistic and can order video nasties seized to protect kids such movies were never intended for.

Whatever the case, in the post-modern world, where national borders are meaningless to the flow of information and a ton of content is user-generated, parents should be responsible for what their children are viewing.