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The OLG Frankfurt fathoms the “shitstorm

There are always judgments that make even a longtime lawyer smile. For example, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main has to deal with the question of whether the statement “huge shitstorm reaped” constitutes a factual claim that can be verified in court.

In this regard, the court ruled that the term “shitstorm” would be a “storm of indignation” according to the understanding of an average reader. Just a few negative comments would not be enough to sum it up as a “huge shitstorm.” Since there had only been a few critical individual voices, the OLG therefore prohibited a press organ from stating that the applicant had “reaped a huge shitstorm”.

The applicant in this case is a singer and founding member of a band. The defendant is responsible for the content of a press website. She reported in an article about a former bandmate of the applicant who had “dug through his memory box” and found videos of the applicant. He had also addressed this on his Instagram account. The applicant had written the post with the words:

“Do you still know the whole choreo? Can’t get them together anymore!!! Man man man, dementia”

comments. The respondent’s article states, among other things, that “.

Even his former bandmate … comments, speaks of dementia and reaps a huge shitstorm”.

The applicant objects to this statement, among others. The District Court dismissed the application for an injunction. The appeal against this was partially successful before the Higher Regional Court. The statement that the applicant had reaped a huge shitstorm constituted an untrue statement of fact. According to the understanding of an average reader, the term “shitstorm” refers to a “storm of indignation” in which just a few negative posts would not be sufficient to summarize it as a “huge shitstorm”. One user had made a critical comment here, and there was also a critical report and commentary on another portal. This, however, was the end of the negative reactions, apart from one crying and two astonished smileys, whose connotation, however, could not be assigned without doubt.

Even if the applicant’s statement had been ill-considered, the reaction described on the Internet, which was limited to a few voices, could not be described as a “shitstorm” or even a “huge shitstorm”. By this, the reader understands a reaction of a completely different scale.

The decision issued in the summary proceedings cannot be appealed.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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