“Schatten an der Wand” star Julia Neigel wins defamation case against competitor

Schatten an der Wand

Mrs. Julia Neigel is a well-known and highly successful singer, composer and lyricist from Germany. She is known among other things for her song “Schatten an der Wand” (Shadows on the wall). Her music albums achieved high chart positions, and, throughout the course of her career, she has performed more than 2000 concerts. For example, on August 22, 1989, Ms. Neigel performed in East Berlin-Weissensee (former East Germany) in a concert in front of 120,000 people, which was broadcast live by ARD. Mrs. Neigel was awarded the title of “best female singer national” on many occasions by many publications, including world renowned music magazine “Rolling Stone“. From June 2012 to July 2013 Mrs. Neigel worked as a member of the GEMA supervisory board. Recently, Mrs. Neigel also appeared on stage as front woman with the music group “SILLY”, with whom she still works together.

The situation

A musical competitor of Mrs. Neigel created a kind of pinboard or online pillory on his website, where he exclusively published statements about Mrs. Neigel, which were intended to inflict considerable reputational damage. We will,of course, not repeat the specific statements here.

Attorney Dr. Seyfert initially warned the musical competitor out of court and asked him to cease and desist and to immediately delete the statements in question. The musical competitor then deleted parts of his website, but left two reputation damaging statements online, the omission / deletion of which we subsequently requested and required before the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main on behalf of Ms. Neigel.

The result

The Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main completely upheld Ms. Neigel’s claim and, on December 19, 2019, ordered the defendant competitor to refrain from making any such claims about Ms. Neigel. In the meantime, the competitor’s online pillory has completely disappeared from the Internet.

In its ruling, the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main pointed out that court documents with clear names may not be published on the Internet as a matter of principle. If a publication is made, then the contents of the documents – with the exception of the plain names – must be published in full in order to avoid misleading. In particular, it is misleading and therefore inadmissible if the publisher presents half-truths by simply concealing essential facts in comments on the judgement, thereby creating false impressions. Such an approach constitutes misleading unfair competition which must be avoided.