Court Injunction against N-Forum.

    11 Feb, 2011

    Hi everyone - bad news:

    A court injunction has been granted against me and the N-Forum. It is based on the previously mentioned - and already removed - forum post from the 01/05/2009, which mentioned a newspaper article posted by the "news" account of the forum.

    The value of the claim has been set at 40.000 Euro and the injunction forbids a range of statements, next to the forum post in question itself. Amongst other things, the injunction stipulates:

    "(..) it is forbidden (..) to distribute and/or allow to be distributed (..)"

    and

    "(..) to create the impression that xxx (..) through coverage xxx (..)".

    and all this

    "(..) under threat of a fine of up to 250.000,00 € (..) or arrest for contempt of court with imprisonment of up to six months in case of noncompliance."

    No, the amount isn't a typo and you didn't read it wrong either.

    As I haven't got that amount of money lying around and my holidays are also already otherwise planned, I am forced - with a very heavy heart

    to close the forum.

    Our Nürburgring Forum would have been 10 years old on the 15 March and we have written over 60.000 entries to date.

    To be precise: there are 60.738 entries - all of which I would now have to check to make sure that none of them create the impression that "xxx xxx" - and of course, this would apply to future forum posts, too.

    This is completely impossible to do and if the injunction is kept up, it may well have far reaching consequences for any forum within Germany. This goes far beyond my definition of "spare time" and "private fan project". And all of this only because of an old newspaper article that's been buried in the archives for the last 1.5 years.

    The case is not about copyright - that would be a whole different ballgame. It's about the content of statements which I am not allowed to distribute - despite me never having written these statements in the first place.

    A quick rundown of events up to now:

    • A warning letter arrived in Mid-January and I was made aware of the offending post for the first time by it.

    • I deleted the entry immediately and informed the lawyer who sent the warning letter. As I did not write the article in question, I was under the impression that I have no further blame to shoulder.

    • This week, the injunction from the county court arrived.

    • I will now appeal against this injunction.

    I am planning to keep you informed as best as I can - and as best as I'm allowed to within the legalities of this. If I'm forced to close the forum then at least I want the process to be documented properly.

    The financial risk in regards to legal costs through two instances (lawyers, court costs) is around 16.000 Euro.

    Many of you have urged me to open an account for donations / contributons - like Uli P. said:

    "As Mike and 20832.com are representative of many of us, Mike should be wise enough to install an account for donations.".

    Many thanks for your support!

    If we win the case and the other party has to pay the legal costs, then I would propose to donate any surplus-amount to Markus Krämer - I hope this is in your interest. Many thanks also to Klaus Korn, who has agreed to collect the funds. To provide transparency I will update the account balance on a regular basis:

    Donations Account: 7,626.00 Euro (Balance 17 February.2011)

    Bank Details (different to the German one in order to provide international IBAN code):

    Bank Name: Postbank Köln
    IBAN: DE29 3701 0050 0105 7585 03
    BIC: PBNKDEFF
    Account Number: 0105758503
    Account Holder: Klaus Korn
    Reference: Frison ./. Richter

    (Unfortunately, I can't send you a tax deductible receipt as this is technically a gift.)

    This is all pretty sad, but we won't give up that easy!

    I've tried to explain the circumstances in a matter-of-fact way here, but it may well be that I'll be a little more emotional about it in my blog ;) I won't go down without a fight, and I hope I'm right in saying neither will you!

    keep racing,
    Mike

     

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