Germans will only be able to buy adult eBooks between 10pm and 6am, after a new law.
Other such media have long been banned during the daytime, and real books that are violent or erotic are kept under the counter of bookstores. But a new ruling means that eBooks will be treated like films or TV, and so can only be sold during the night time window.
The 10pm to 6am window was originally instituted in a 2002 law — Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag, or Youth Media Protection Act — that was intended to restrict adult cinemas from showing films in the day. But many have pointed out that applying the rule on the internet, where products can be bought at all hours of the day, is impractical.
The change has been as part of a legal complaint around a German erotica eBook called Schlauchgelüste (Pantyhose Cravings), according to blog The Digital Reader, a memoir of a transgender person which has caused problems because it was readily available.
None of the sites selling selling such material are yet shutting down in the day, according to reports. But the law allows for people to be fined up to €500,000 if they are found to be selling the material.
The German booksellers’ association is looking to provide a way that eBook stores can be sure that they’re not selling the books to young people without having to check through the contents of every book that they sell, according to Boersenblatt the website for the German book trade. Such systems might require publishers to say whether books are erotic, and then place them in a special section of the website that ensures that they can’t be seen by children.
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