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Compuserve mulls move out of Germany (fwd)

Declan McCullagh wrote:
>From owner-fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu Wed Nov 20 07:38 MEZ 1996
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 21:40:01 -0800 (PST)
From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Reply-To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
To: fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
Subject: Compuserve mulls move out of Germany
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[At the risk of drawing more flack, I offer this as an example of how
economic freedom and social freedom are inextricably intertwined. --Declan]



Compuserve mulls move out of Germany

>    MUNICH, Germany (Nov 18, 1996 10:30  a.m.  EST) - Compuserve GmbH
said Monday it may transfer its administrative operations out of
Germany because of government moves to force Internet companies to
control pornography on their networks.

>    The German unit of the world's second-largest online service would
continue to offer services in Germany, but shift its headquarters to a
country that does not hold online companies responsible for obscene
material on the Internet, spokeswoman Doris Kretzen told Reuters.

>    A law under consideration in Germany's lower house of parliament
would require online companies to block access to child pornography,
neo-Nazi materials or other extreme pictures or writing on the

>    "I don't know that we would move just because of the law, but we
can be a provider from another country," Kretzen said.

>    Compuserve, which is also Germany's second-largest online system,
has balked at such measures, saying they would require the company to
"censor" vast reaches of the Internet.

>    One proposal in Germany's Bundestag would require online services
to act only when barring access is "technically possible and

>    Felix Somm, Compuserve's general manager in Germany, told German
television: "It cannot be that a provider has to make massive
investments to control an international network, if you can offer
services with significantly less cost next door in Luxembourg."

>    Kretzen noted that Compuserve, which ranks second only to America
Online, serves several European countries from its London and Paris

>    German prosecutors raided Compuserve a year ago on suspicion that
customers used the network to distribute child pornography.

>    Compuserve then came under criticism from free speech advocates
after it agreed to the authorities' request that it block access to
more than 200 Internet sites.

>    Compuserve, a subsidiary of H&R Block, provides online
information, electronic mail and Internet access to more than four
million subscribers in 140 countries. It has 500,000 customers in
Europe, including 335,000 in Germany and employs 250 workers in