German court shuts down Wikipedia.de

German court orders that the German-language version of Wikipedia be shut down until offending content is removed.

A German court has ordered the shutdown of the German-language version of Wikipedia, the multilingual open-access encyclopedia available on the Internet, after the family of a deceased hacker filed a lawsuit against Wikimedia Deutschland eV for using the young man's full name in an entry.

Earlier this week, a judge at the Berlin-Charlottenburg administrative court sided with the family of the hacker known as Tron and ruled that the Web site www.wikipedia.de be taken down until the offending content is removed.

Tron, who spent many of his teen years hacking, developed working clones of German phone cards, among other things. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail for theft of a public phone, but the sentence was later suspended on probation, according to the Wikipedia entry.

In 1998, he died under mysterious circumstances.

Visitors to Wikipedia's German site are currently informed that it has been taken offline following a provisional court order.

The original entry in German, however, can still be viewed at: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron_%28Hacker%29. An English-language version is also available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron_%28hacker%29.

The fact that the Tron entry is still accessible shows how difficult it is for a court to order content to be removed from the Internet.

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John Blau

IDG News Service
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