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I own a website and domain and i've given someone access to modify it (developer). I am not a business and the person who has access is not paid for the job.

Recently the person who has access uploaded swastikas on the website. I was asleep at the time, so the swastikas were public for about 1-2 hours, after that i immediately removed them and also removed the persons access to modify the site. I live in germany where it is illegal to use symbols like a swastika (StGB § 86a).

Can i get sued for someone having put swastikas on my website for such a short period of time? And if yes, how bad would the punishment be?

Thank you for your time.

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    You won't get sued ("verklagt"), unless a private person feels that seeing a swastika caused them damage which can be quantified in form of money and they now want money from you. The real question should be if you might get indicted ("angeklagt") for violating the criminal code. – Philipp Feb 25 at 9:55
  • @Philipp Someone in illinois filed a lawsuit against me containing the following statements: [...]Please immediately delete, take-down, clear all contect, and de-register ownership of the [domain name here] domain name currently hosted by [...] We are aware of past history of Nazi-themes images hosted on this website [...] and screenshots and/or evidence is ready to be provided to all parties with attention to this matter. [...] Failure to do so im a prompt manner will constitute this office further pursuing this matter to the fullest extent of United States of America and German law[...] – Twoot Feb 25 at 10:20
  • Would that mean i am indicted? Or is this not valid? The person filing the lawsuit has a history of being a con artist, so i'm worried. – Twoot Feb 25 at 10:22
  • You might want to ask about that "lawsuit" separately, because I think threatening someone that you will report a crime you suspect they committed unless they do something for you could be a crime in itself (blackmail). – Philipp Feb 25 at 14:07
  • @Twoot I'm not a lawyer, but: Why would it be illegal to own a domain that previously had Nazi stuff on it? And why would that be illegal in America? – user253751 Feb 25 at 18:00
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I can't tell you there's nothing to worry about, but this sounds like a scam - possibly an attempt at blackmail. They may be looking to acquire your domain, or subsequent communication might ask for money for it all to go away.

A local lawyer would be able to advise you far better than The Bloke On The Internet. Mention to them :

  • That you were not responsible for the prohibited content

  • That you removed the content as soon as was reasonably possible

  • That you can provide details of the person you believe to be responsible (and, ideally evidence to show who posted the content, when it was posted, and when you deleted it)

The lawyer may advise you to contact the local police. Tell them the same. It sounds like you are the victim here, and not the perpetrator.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the helpful answer! – Twoot Feb 25 at 11:54
  • @Twoot - Happy to oblige. There might be some better answers along in a bit - feel free to re-allocate the "accepted answer" points if one comes along. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Feb 25 at 12:09

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