Copyright Censorship: We Got a Cease-and-Desist by the Government

The federal government has sent us a cease-and-desist letter because we have published a government report on glyphosate. They are accusing us of violating copyright law. That’s absurd. We will defend ourselves.

The German government has threatened us in order to depublish a government report on the risks of glyphosate. The responsible Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which reports to the Ministry of Agriculture of Julia Klöckner (CDU), accuses us of copyright infringement and demands that we sign a cease-and-desist declaration.

Arne Semsrott, project lead of FragDenStaat: "It is shameful to see the Ministry of Agriculture abusing copyright to suppress unwelcome reporting. But we won't be intimidated. If necessary, we will take the case to the European Court of Justice. Copyright must not become a censorship right."

Now we are suing the Federal Government

We received the report, which was prepared by the BfR, from the authority through a freedom of information request. The 6-page document, which dates from 2015, deals with investigations into tumours that could have been caused by glyphosate.

We have filed a negative declaratory action against the Federal Institute to have the Berlin Regional Court determine that the Federal Government's actions are unlawful.

The fact that such a procedure is even being considered by the government comes back to the outdated German copyright law. In order to protect free reporting, it should exclude state-financed documents from copyright protection. However, the Federal Government has been delaying necessary reforms for years. In the course of the reform of the Copyright Directive and the PSI Directive at European level, the corresponding laws must also be adapted in Germany.

We need your support

In this case, the Federal Government is represented by the commercial law firm Gleiss Lutz, which, among other things, acts for Volkswagen AG in connection with diesel fraud and for companies in legal disputes with trade unions.

As a charitable project, we are dependent on donations for the coming legal dispute. Please support us with a donation!

→ Further information: fragdenstaat.de/zensurheberrecht/


Press contact: Arne Semsrott, 030 57 70 36 660, arne.semsrott@okfn.de

This article is available in other languages.

Bild des Autors

Arne Semsrott

Arne ist Journalist und Projektleiter von FragDenStaat.

E-Mail: arne.semsrott@okfn.de (PGP)

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