Germany convicts CompuServe manager in porn case

In a surprising turn of events, ex-CompuServe Germany GmbH manager Felix Somm has been convicted in Munich on charges of allowing pornographic materials to traffic over the Internet, according to a newswire report. The Bavarian district court found Somm guilty of complicity in 13 cases of spreading pornography over the Internet, and gave him a two-year sentence.

In a surprising turn of events, ex-CompuServe Germany GmbH manager Felix Somm has been convicted in Munich on charges of allowing pornographic materials to traffic over the Internet, according to a newswire report.

The Bavarian district court found Somm guilty of complicity in 13 cases of spreading pornography over the Internet, and gave him a two-year sentence, according to Reuters. Neither Somm nor the Munich prosecutor's office were immediately available for comment.

The day before the verdict, Ulrich Sieber, part of the team helping to defend Somm, said in a statement that he believed Somm would be exonerated of the charges. Somm's defense lawyer, Hans-Werner Moritz, has also said that the Bavarian prosecutor's office does not have a case, because the multimedia law which went into effect in Germany last August does not hold service providers responsible for foreign material to which they only provide access.

Somm was accused of allowing CompuServe customers in Germany to access pornography, including child pornography, in 1995 and 1996, before CompuServe blocked access to controversial news groups.

CompuServe, based in Columbus, Ohio, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.compuserve.com/.

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