In Germany, a federal court has ruled that a man who was deprived of his high-speed Internet connection for two months should receive compensation for his loss because, according to a court spokeswoman, “loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car.” The man’s service plan included telephone and fax lines, which were also not working; he had already been compensated by the service provider for being forced to use a cell phone during the period. His original request was intended to cover Internet-based voice and fax services as well, but these were turned down by the court. The final amount he will receive has not yet been determined.
What’s the Big Idea?
German laws already exist that allow compensation for the loss of “essential material items.” By legally recognizing the Internet as one of these items, the court has opened the way for citizens to claim money for disrupted service. The ruling cited the increasing reliance on the Internet for access to mass media, communication, and social and professional interactions. “[It] plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways,” said the spokeswoman.