Blogs, Wikipedia and unfair competition

In Germany, two interesting decisions have been taken concerning publishing information on blogs and also on Wikipedia, the famous “open” enciclopedia that everybody can contribute to. The Court of Appeal of Munich (verdict 515/12, 10 May 2012) has ordained that providing info on Wikipedia can be seen as business if it consists of providing info that favor in some way the contributor’s company. Furthermore, presenting info on Wikipedia might be considered hypothetical misleading advertising, since the reader would consider the article to be official or neutral being unable to recognize self-celebrative or promotional messages. The Court of Hamburg expressed itself in a similar fashion but concerning forums. The fact that users who often comment on these boards are unrelated to the companies is not beyond question, but it needs to be ensured that there isn’t a company that hires them in order to praise their products or discredit those of other companies. It is in fact known that there are such companies that carry out this type of task on behalf of others that are in any case held responsible for what’s written on these platforms. In our opinion this is an important decision that allows those who were victims of a smear campaign to shine a light and punish those at fault. Anonymity on internet, which deserves to be protected, is sometimes used as an unfair way to favor a business damaging other competitors and needs to be stopped.