eBooks Won’t Actually Be Getting a Curfew in Germany

eBooks Won't Actually Be Getting a Curfew in Germany eBookstore This blog broke the news late last week that German regulators were tightening the sales restrictions on adult ebooks. My two local sources had said that German ebook retailers would have to apply age verification and enact a curfew which restricted the sale of adult ebooks to between 10 pm and 6 am local time.

Yes, that is as crazy as it sounds, but now it appears that German regulators recognize that fact as well. A new story crossed my desk this morning which suggests that the curfew might not be enforced after all.

Boersenblatt has published an interview of Susanne Barwick, a lawyer with Boersenverein (the German book industry trade group). The interview is in German and is rather lengthy, but the key detail is that ebook retailers will probably not have to implement a curfew.

Yes, the ebook retailers will have to start verifying customer's ages, but Barwick says that in the long run they will not have to restrict the hours in which they sell adult ebooks.

EditBoersenverein has also released an English language statement which makes the same argument. It's in high legalese, but readable.

I don't have the legal background to argue the point, but I can add that past events do bear out her argument.

A reader pointed out earlier this week that in late 2012 Nintendo was caught up in a similar situation. Due to German laws, Nintendo was abruptly forced to restrict online sales of adult-rated video games which it was selling in its Wii U eShop.

Engadget reported at the time that sales were limited to a four hour stretch between 11 pm and 3 am local time. And since Nintendo's servers were based in Germany, sales to the rest of the EU were also restricted by that curfew.

That curfew was lifted four months later, in March 2013, after Nintendo showed that its systems ( the Parental Controls system on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, to be exact) were capable of keeping kids from accessing adult content.

eBook retailers will probably be able to reach a similar accommodation with German regulators in short order. After all, the major ebook retailers already have some type of parental control.

Amazon has Kindle Freetime, and Kobo has a Kid's Store as well as child accounts (not yet available in Germany).

What's more, both Google and Apple have parental controls on their devices and currently sell adult content (apps, videos) in Germany. I would expect that both Google and Apple already comply with the relevant German laws and will simply adapt their policies and procedures to cover ebooks as well.

However, I don't know yet exactly how the ebook retailers will respond; I queried several retailers on Friday but have yet to receive a response.

image by psd

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

11 Comments

  1. […] Update: Or perhaps not. A publishing industry lawyer is disputing the accuracy of the early media reports. She says that there will be no curfew. […]

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2015

      Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Alexander Vieß24 June, 2015

    Just scroll down 😉

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2015

      *blush*

      Reply
  3. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2015

    And since I forgot to say it in the first place, thank you for the tip about the English language statement.

    Reply
  4. No Curfew For Adult eBooks. Cord Cutting On the Rise TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics25 June, 2015

    […] eBooks Won’t Actually Be Getting a Curfew in Germany (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Yes, that is as crazy as it sounds, but now it appears that German regulators recognize that fact as well. A new story crossed my desk this morning which suggests that the curfew might not be enforced after all. […]

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  5. […] About that German Erotica Curfew… (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Recent reports that Germany would begin enforcing a ban on selling adult-themed ebooks before 10pm appear to have overstated the case. While the law in question remains very much on the books, ebook retailers will reportedly only need to verify customers’ ages rather than restrict their sale of certain titles to after dark. […]

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  6. […] Múlt heti merítésünkben beszámoltunk egy németországi törvénymódosítás tervezetér?l, aminek köszönhet?en az országban este 10 el?tt nem lehet majd feln?tt témájú e-könyveket vásárolni. Az Ink, Bits, & Pixels blogja szerint azonban szerencsére nem ez lesz a tervezet végs? formája. A blog forrásai szerint valószín?leg az értékesít?k továbbra is forgalmazhatnak majd ilyen témájú m?veket a nap bármely szakaszában, csak a vásárlók életkorát kell majd ellen?rizniük. (link) […]

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  7. […] word and of the dangers of censorship. In the western world at least (apart from Germany, thanks to a rather bizarre censorship law they recently passed), literature is one of the last bastions of true free expression. It is, as I think I’ve […]

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