• Germany's news in English

Yes, you CAN buy '50 Shades' before 10pm

Emma Anderson · 23 Jun 2015, 18:04

Published: 23 Jun 2015 18:04 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An article written by the German book industry’s trade magazine sparked off a series of blog posts and articles, re-reporting the claim that the sale of electronic books with mature content is banned between 10pm and 6am in Germany.

In fact, a book industry official told The Local that this is not the case at all.

The original article has since been expanded and corrected, but that has not stopped English-language media like the Independent and Metro from picking up the misleading report.

The actual rules surrounding online media are a bit more complex.

Basically, e-books fall into the same category of “telemedia” as television broadcasting under German media youth protection laws designed to protect children from objectionable content. Depending on how “mature” the content is, there are different restrictions.

Content distributors have several options when it comes to complying with the law: restricting times when the content can be viewed, which best applies to broadcasting adult content on the television; using age verification systems; or setting up software that filters for mature content.

Therefore, while television broadcasters under this classification may choose to use time limits, e-book sellers have other choices.

“This issue has been falsely reported,” explained spokesman for the Association of German Book Traders Thomas Koch to The Local. “Such time limits, to our knowledge, are in essence never used.”

The other options of age verification and youth protection software are more sensible for e-books, Koch said.

Still, he said the book association is working with the Youth Protection Authority on finding the most convenient solution for monitoring e-books.

Story continues below…

The original article had reported on a discussion led by the book association’s legal advisor, Dr. Christian Sprang. He mentioned that e-books fell into the same category as media broadcasters that can opt for time restrictions, which may have caused some of the confusion.

So EL James fans in Germany - fear not. The last time The Local checked on amazon.de, 50 Shades of Grey e-book version was still available for sale while the sun was shining.


For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Eurowings union threatens cabin crew strike for Thursday
Photo: DPA.

A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will start as of Thursday if ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd