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German consumer rights win court victory against Facebook

Berlin's regional court has ruled that Facebook must pay an administrative fine of 100,000 euros ($108,850). The ruling is in response to "insufficient" changes to a contested clause over users' rights.

Germany's Consumer Federation (VZBV) said on Monday that Facebook had tried "very persistently to circumvent consumers' rights in Germany and Europe."

"A fine of 100,000 euros is a clear signal. Companies need to implement judicial decisions and can not just sit out it," said VZBV Chairman Klaus Müller.

Under the contested clause, Facebook had a "global licesnse to any IP content" which was posted by users either on Facebook itself or in connection to the network - for example images.

'Significantly'restricted rights

Although Facebook has altered the clause in the meantime, the court ruled on Monday that the changes were not sufficient in light of a previous judicial decision.

The "significant disciplinary action" was justified because the clause concerns a very large number of users and their "significantly" restricted rights, the Berlin court ruled. The decision of the court is not yet final.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the firm had complied with the previous arrangement and clarified the controversial point in the terms and conditions some time ago.

"Now the court has decided that this wasn't happening fast enough and have imposed a fine," the spokeswoman said, adding that Facebook would pay the penalty.

ksb/rc (AFP)

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