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German registrar bans Web site

German registrar bans Web site

By Declan McCullagh

Staff Writer, CNET

February 11, 2003, 5:54 PM PT

update A domain name registrar in Germany has deleted the registration for a gruesome U.S.-based online photo gallery that featured stomach-wrenching images from autopsies and medical procedures.

Computer Service Langenbach, which operates the registrar in Dusseldorf, Germany, yanked the domain name from its database this week in response to a request from a German prosecutor, said the hosting service and the owner of the site Tuesday.

"I've never heard of a case where a registrar can disable a domain over content," said Ted Hickman, who runs Virginia-based "I certainly won't be registering any domains at'll host anything that's legal in the U.S. It's not our job to determine whether content is acceptable to others."

Neither Computer Service Langenbach nor the German embassy in Washington responded to inquiries. A search on the domain in the Whois database lists it as "disabled by government."

Hickman provided a copy of the e-mail from that said that domain was taken offline "by order of Staatsanwaltschaft Dusseldorf," the public prosecutor's office.

If a German government office did order the domain removed, this would be another case of the global Internet running up against national laws, which in Germany can be unusually restrictive. In October 2001, the Dusseldorf government ordered local Internet providers to block access to four U.S. Web sites, including shock site


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