The German Federal Ministry of the Interior has sent a cease and desist order to the Freedom of Information (FOI) portal FragDenStaat.de for publishing a document received under the German federal FOI law. The document – a five page study written by government staff – analyses a ruling by the German constitutional court in November 2011 which declared the 5% party quota for the European Parliament elections as unconstitutional. The study concludes that setting any such quota would be unconstitutional according to the ruling. Despite this a recent change in election law set the party quota to 3%.
When the study in question was received from the Ministry of the Interior through an FOI request on FragDenStaat.de, the ministry prohibited publication of the document by claiming copyright. FragDenStaat.de has decided to publish the document anyway to take a stand against this blatant misuse of copyright. The government sent a cease and desist letter shortly after. The Open Knowledge Foundation Germany as the legal entity behind FragDenStaat.de is refusing to comply with the cease and desist order, and is looking forward to a court decision that will strengthen freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information rights in Germany.
We want to fight this case in court and need financial support. The organisation behind FragDenStaat.de is the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, a German non-profit charitable organisation. Please donate via BetterPlace.org or with the following details:
Recipient: Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V
BIC: GENO DE F1 ETK
If you can’t spare money but time, tell the European Commission to reform copyright and make government documents exempt from copyright.