Illegal Content - The Grey Area on the Internet
If you are concerned with the contents of websites, the first thing you must do is to clearly understand the fundamental difference between websites and domains. It is possible to make a website reachable under a domain, but that is not the only way, since websites can be addressed by entering the appropriate IP address too. It is also possible for a website to be accessible through several domains and under a number of different Top Level Domains. To give you an example: the domains www.denic.de, www.nic.de and www.denic.info all route you to DENIC's website. A domain is actually only a reference to a computer ("host"), which itself (with the exception of the example just given) is not operated by DENIC, but by someone else. DENIC has no means of accessing such computers.
From this it follows that DENIC has nothing to do with either the contents or technicalities of websites accessible under .de domains. DENIC cannot determine the contents of websites nor can it exert any influence; it doesn't even have them saved on its own servers. All DENIC does is to provide the link between the domain and the website by registering the domain on its name servers.
If you happen to find a website whose contents appear illegal or harmful to young people, you should report it to the appropriate law-enforcement agency (such as the police or the public prosecutor's office). Alternatively, you can contact the complaints' unit of the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Multimedia-Diensteanbieter FSM, which was founded in 1997 by several associations in order to prevent the spreading of contents that is illegal or harmful to young people (e.g. incitement of the people, display of violence, so-called hard pornography) via online services. Please note: FSM is not responsible for complaints concerning the following subjects:
- Spam mails (unsolicited advertising e-mails) without pornographic content or content harmful to young persons. Contact: eco e.V.
- Breach of the duties with regard to provider identification of non-members of the FSM. Contact: Zentrale zur Bekämpfung unlauteren Wettbewerbs e.V. (Centre for Combating Unfair Competition)
- Infringements of data privacy laws. Contact: Responsible State Data Protection Officer
- Contents of news groups and forums. Contact: ICTF Working Group of eco e.V. (Association of the German Internet Economy)