In what will no doubt become a landmark case, The German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that the internet is such an important commodity that the plaintiff in the case (who was wrongfully disconnected) should be financially compensated for the loss of it.
The court stated that an internet connection is as crucial to everyday life is as a phone connection and is incredibly significant to a large portion of the German population.
So in this case, where the plaintiff was denied internet access from December 2008 to February 2009, the court has ruled that he is deserving of compensation.
The plaintiff wanted the unnamed telecommunications company to pay for the costs of switching to a new ISP and demanded compensation of €50 (£42/$66) for each day that he was unable to use DSL, fax over IP and VoIP services.
However the court decided that he should only be compensated for the loss of internet connection. The court decided not to compensate him for the loss of the fax, because it only enables text and images to be sent faster than traditional mail and is a service that is becoming largely obsolete because of email. They also denied his claim for compensation for the VoIP phone line because he had a working cell phone.
Court spokeswoman Dietlind Weinland, “It is the first time the court ruled that an Internet connection is as important a commodity as having a phone.”
Further extolling the internet’s many virtues, the court went into great detail about why it is so important: they spoke about the availability of information in its various forms, the fact that a range of subjects are covered from entertainment to the highly scientific and that it can be used instead of various other forms of media like television, newspapers or magazines.
The court also stated that the internet allowed for global interaction between users because of email, blogs and social networks. They also pointed out that it was regularly used to open and close work contracts, legal transactions and the fulfillment of public service interactions.
I wonder how many other cases are going to be filed against ISPs that have wrongfully disconnected their users now!
Source: Computer World