The Bundesrat has given its approval to the Act Amending the Telemedia Act, which was drawn up by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on behalf of the Federal Government. The “WiFi Act” enters into force the day after its promulgation.
Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries said: “It’s been worth the wait. I am glad that the Bundesrat has now also approved the WiFi Act. The fact that it will be possible to offer more public WiFi hotspots – with legal certainty and without access restrictions – represents genuine progress for Germany. For the consumers, this means that they will soon be able to access the internet easily in many more places, such as airports, cafés, hotels, municipal offices and libraries. And the new act means that the WiFi operators will not be taking on a risk by providing a public service. We are delivering what we set out in the Coalition Agreement and thus making an important contribution towards modern digital infrastructure in Germany.”
The Act creates legal certainty for all WiFi operators wishing to offer their customers via a hotspot. They will no longer be exposed to the risk of being fined if users download illegal content from the internet. They don’t need to encrypt their WiFi or require customers to register. Nor do they need to verify the identity of the users.
Intellectual property continues to be protected. A right-holder can, for example, require a WiFi operator to block a specific website if a user has already illegally disseminated copyright content via this site and the breach of the law can only be stopped by blocking the site. However, the costs of pre-litigation or court proceedings cannot be imposed on the WiFi operator.
The new WiFi Act thus strikes a fair balance between the various interests.
Also, the Bundesrat has adopted the Act introducing rules on admission to the occupation of commercial real estate agent and residential property manager. Basically, this means that estate agents will have to undergo regular training in future. Residential property managers will have to obtain permission to work in this field for the first time. To obtain this permission, residential property managers will have to receive training and take out liability insurance. The new rules enter into force nine months following publication in the Federal Law Gazette