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Thursday, January 19, 2006 Shut Down at the moment is showing off its “out of order” sign.

The German Wikipedia entry page,, has received a court interdiction* to shut itself down. Now, is indeed not redirecting to the actual German Wikipedia content anymore, though entering through the main page is still easily possible.

Behind the court order are the parents of Boris F., a hacker by the nick of “Tron” who died in 1998 (the actual circumstances of his death remain unclear; he was found hung in a Berlin park on October 22nd). The parents objected to the fact the German Wikipedia entry on Boris was naming his full name (it still is, at this moment).

Currently, the German-language entry on Wikipedia (which resides on a US server) names Boris’ full name.

Interestingly enough, the parents of Boris F. are not alone in their battle against Wikipedia and have a hacker on their side. Andy Müller-Maguhn, spokesperson for the Chaos Computer Club (Germany’s most famous hacker and electronic rights group, who once had Boris as their member), is supporting them – though he’s speaking for himself in this case, and not the CCC. According to Spiegel Online, Müller-Maguhn said “I won’t debate there is public interest in Tron, but this is about the right to remain anonymous.”

According to Austrian Futurezone, Maguhn also admitted that the actual reason behind the current controversy was a recent work of fiction in which the main character has Boris’ name. The parents protested this usage but the book’s author turned them down on the basis that German Wikipedia uses Boris’ full name as well.

*Wikipedia writes the initial court order to the Wikimedia Foundation was mistakenly addressed to Saint Petersburg, Russia, rather than Saint Petersburg, Florida, where Wikipedia resides.

[Thanks Miel.]

Update: As of January 20, is allowed to redirect to the German Wikipedia once again. While formally the previous court interdiction is still valid, for the time being Wikipedia – who paid €500 to the court – are not bound to act on it.


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