• German Federal Supreme Court Ruling on the Liability of Providers of Online Review Portals
  • May 12, 2017 | Authors: Viola Bensinger; Christoph Enaux; Stefan Lütje
  • Law Firm: Greenberg Traurig, LLP - Berlin Office
  • On April 4, the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) held (in German only) that reviews made by users on a review website are deemed the website provider’s opinion and, therefore, will be attributed to the provider if he deletes or changes parts of the reviews, especially without prior consultation with the authors and uploading users.

    In the underlying case, the plaintiff’s ENT clinic had been poorly rated by a patient based on incorrect facts on the defendant’s review website. The plaintiff requested that the defendant remove the review from the website. The German Federal Supreme Court confirmed the lower courts’ findings and the defendant’s liability as a third party (Störerhaftung) to cease and desist. Since the defendant took responsibility for the content of the review, and not only examined but also edited it without prior consultation with the uploading user, the Court held that the defendant appropriated the review in question and is therefore liable for its contents.