|Act to regulate the dissemination of writings and media contents harmful to young persons (Gesetz über die Verbreitung jugendgefährdender Schriften und Medieninhalte, GjSM)
As promulgated on 12 July 1985 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1502), last amended by Article 6 of the Information and Communication Services Act of 22.7.1997 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1870)
Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.
Table of Contents
Chapter I Writings harmful to young persons
Section 1 [Entering harmful writings in a list]
Section 2 [Trivial cases]
Section 3 [Dissemination bans]
Section 4 [Ban on dissemination outside of business premises]
Section 5 [Restrictions on advertising]
Section 6 [Seriously harmful writings]
Section 7 [Indexing of periodicals for a specified duration]
Section 7a [Person responsible for youth protection]
Chapter II Federal Supervisory Body
Section 8 [Setting up a Federal Supervisory Body]
Section 9 [Staffing of the Federal Supervisory Body]
Section 9a [Right of proposal enjoyed by specified and unspecified organisations]
Section 10 [Freedom of members from directives]
Chapter III Powers
Section 11 [Powers]
Chapter IV Procedure
1. General procedural regulationsSection 12 [Hearing the publisher and the author]2. Keeping the list
Section 13 [Ordering entry in the list where there is a qualified majority]
Section 14 [Notification of and grounds for the decision]
Section 15 [Provisional order for entry in the list]
Section 15a [Entry in the list in simplified proceedings]Section 16 [Keeping the list]3. Announcements
Section 17 [Entry and removal]
Section 18 [Analogous treatment of writings with the same content or pornographic writings]Section 19 [Announcement in the Federal Gazette]
Chapter V Legal redress
Section 20 [Actions]
Chapter VI Penal provisions
Section 21 [Offences]
Section 21a [Regulatory offence]
Sections 22 25 [Final provisions]
Section 1 [Establishment of the Federal Supervisory Body]
Section 2 [Right of application]
Section 3 [Applications]
Section 4 [Date of hearing]
Section 5 [Bias on the part of members of the Federal Supervisory Body]
Section 6 [Basic principles governing hearings]
Section 7 [Conducting of the hearing]
Section 8 [Discussion, voting, decision, notification]
Section 9 [Simplified proceedings]
Section 10 [Obligation to inform]
Section 11 [Obligation to notify]
Section 12 [Deputy members of the Federal Supervisory Body)
Section 13 [Publication of the list]
Section 14 [Berlin clause]
Section 15 [Entry into force]
For the protection of adolescent youth the basic rights set out in Article 5 paragraph 1 of the Basic Law shall be subject to the following restrictions:
(1) Writings which are such as may place children or juveniles in moral danger shall be recorded in a list. These include in particular writings which are immoral, coarsening in effect, providing incitement to violence, crime or racial hatred, or which glorify war. The recording shall be made known.
(2) A writing shall not be entered in the list
1. solely on account of a particular political, social, religious or philoso-phical content;
2. where it serves art or science, research or teaching;
3. where it is in the public interest, unless the mode of depiction is objectionable.
(3) Equivalent to writings shall be media carrying sound and images, storage media for data, graphical and other representations. Writings for the purposes of this Act shall not extend to radio and television broadcasts under section 2 of the National Broadcasting Agreement, nor to substantive offers made by distribution services and call services insofar as prominence is given to the editorial framing for opinion-forming purposes among the general public under section 2 of the Media Services Agreement in the version from 20 January to 7 February 1997.
(4) A child for the purposes of the Act is any person who is not yet fourteen years of age, a juvenile any person who is fourteen but not yet eighteen years of age.
(1) In cases of slight importance a recording of the writing in the list can be dispensed with.
(2) Where entry in the list obviously cannot be contemplated, the chairperson may discontinue the proceedings.
(1) A writing whose recording in the list has been made known shall not be
1. offered, given or made accessible to a child or juvenile;
2. displayed, mounted, shown or otherwise made accessible in a place which is accessible to children or juveniles or into which they can see;
3. offered or given to another through commercial letting or a comparable commercial granting of a right of use, except in shops which are not accessible to children or juveniles and into which they cannot see;
4. disseminated, stored or otherwise made accessible via electronic information and communication services.
(5) Subsection (1) 3 shall not apply where the transaction occurs in business dealings with commercial hirers. Subsection (1) 4 shall not apply where technical precautions have been taken to ensure that the offer or dissemination in the domestic territory can be restricted to users who have attained the age of majority.
(1) A writing whose recording in the list has been made known shall not be dealt in, disseminated or lent out or stored for these purposes
1. in the retail trade outside of business premises;
2. in kiosks or other sales outlets which the customer does not usually enter;
3. in the mail order business; or
4.in commercial lending libraries or reading clubs.
(2) Publishers and intermediaries shall not deliver any such writing to persons that are engaged in trade pursuant to subsection (1) 1 or are proprietors of businesses of the kind described in subsection (1) 2-4. Insofar as delivery may be made, publishers, intermediaries and persons bringing writings into the geographical jurisdiction of this Act shall be required to inform those they supply of these restrictions on dealings.
(3) A writing whose recording in the list has been made known shall not be brought into the geographical jurisdiction of this Act via the mail order trade.
(1) In commercial advertising no reference shall be made to the fact that proceedings for the recording of a writing in the list are or have been pending.
(2) A writing whose recording in the list has been made known shall not be offered, announced or commended publicly or by the dissemination of writings.
(3) Subsection 2 shall not apply
1. where the transaction occurs in business dealings in the relevant trade circles; or
2. where via technical precautions or some other means transmission to or access by children or juveniles is ruled out.
Subject to the restrictions under sections 3-5 without the need for a recording in the list or an announcement shall be
1.writings whose contents correspond to those described in section 130 subsection 2 or section 131 of the Criminal Code;
2.pornographic writings (section 184 of the Criminal Code);
3.other writings which are obviously such as may pose a serious moral danger to children or juveniles.
A periodical can be entered in the list for a duration of from three to twelve months if within twelve months more than two of its issues have been recorded in the list. This shall not apply to daily newspapers and political magazines.
Any person who makes commercially available for use electronic information and communication services based on transmission via telecommunication shall appoint someone to be responsible for youth protection where such services are on general offer and may contain material dangerous to young persons. He shall be the contact person for users and shall advise the service provider on issues of youth protection. He shall be consulted by the service provider on the planning of the services and the framing of the general conditions of use. He can advise the provider to restrict the services offered. The obligation incumbent upon the provider under the first sentence of this section can also be met by his engaging an organisation of voluntary self-control to exercise the functions set out in the second, third and fourth sentences of this section.
(1) A Federal Supervisory Body shall be set up to carry out the duties under this Act.
(2) The Federal Government shall determine the seat of the Federal Supervisory Body by statutory order with the approval of the Bundesrat.
(3) The costs arising out of the setting up of the Federal Supervisory Body and out of its proceedings shall fall to the Federal Government.
(1) The Federal Supervisory Body shall be composed of a chairperson nominated by the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, assessors from the Länder, one to be nominated by each Land government, and additional assessors to be nominated by the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
(2) The assessors to be nominated by the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shall be drawn from the circles of
3. the book trade
5. voluntary youth work organisations
6. public youth work organisations
7. teachers, and
8. the churches, the Jewish cultural community and other religious communities constituted as public corporations upon the proposal of the groups named.
(3) The Federal Supervisory Body shall take its decisions sitting as a body of twelve members, consisting of the chairperson, three Länder assessors, and one assessor from each of the groups named in subsection 2. Where assessors or their deputies who have been called upon to appear at a sitting do not do so, the Federal Supervisory Body shall remain quorate as a body of at least nine members, two of whom at least must belong to the groups listed in subsection 2 (1-4).
(4) The chairperson and the assessors shall be appointed for a period of three years. They may be recalled earlier by the body which has nominated them if they fail to meet their duty to cooperate in the work of the Federal Supervisory Body.
(1) The right of proposal under section 9 subsection 2 shall be exercised within the circles listed below by the following organisations in respect of one assessor and his deputy in each case:
1.For art circles by
· Deutscher Kulturrat
· Bund Deutscher Kunsterzieher e.V.
· Künstlergilde e.V.
· Bund Deutscher Grafik-Designer
2.for literature circles by
· Verband Deutscher Schriftsteller
· Freier Deutscher Autorenverband
· Deutscher Autorenverband e.V.
3.for booktrade circles by
· Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.
· Verband Deutscher Bahnhofsbuchhändler
· Bundesverband Deutscher Buch-, Zeitungs- und Zeitschriftengrossisten e.V.
· IVD Interessengemeinschaft der Videothekare Deutschlands e.V.
4.for publishing circles by
· Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger e.V.
· Verband deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger e.V.
· Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.
· Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Zeitschriftenverlage (AGZV) im Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels
· Bundesverband Video
5. for voluntary youth work circles by
· Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der freien Wohlfahrtspflege
· Deutscher Bundesjugendring
· Deutsche Sportjugend
· Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Aktion Jugendschutz
6.for public youth work circles by
· Deutscher Landkreistag
· Deutscher Städtetag
· Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund
7.for teaching circles by
· Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft im Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbund
· Deutscher Lehrerverband
· Verband Bildung und Erziehung
· Verein Katholischer deutscher Lehrerinnen, and
8.for circles of the public corporations referred to in section 9 subsection 2 (8) by
· Bevollmächtigter des Rates der Evangelischen Kirche Deutschlands am Sitz der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
· Kommissariat der deutschen Bischöfe Katholisches Büro Bonn
· Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland.
For every organisation making use of its right of proposal, one assessor and a deputy assessor shall be nominated. Where one of the organisations referred to in the preceding sentence submits several proposals, the Federal Minister for Women and Youth shall choose an assessor.
(2) For the groups referred to in section 9 subsection 2, assessors and deputy assessors may also be nominated by organisations not specifically named. In January of each year, the Federal Minister for Women and Youth shall request in the Federal Gazette that such proposals be submitted within six weeks. From the proposals submitted on time he shall nominate one additional assessor and one deputy assessor for each group. Proposals from organisations which do not carry weight as an association in their own right, or from which a long-term engagement cannot be anticipated, shall not receive consideration. The decision as between the proposals made by several interested parties shall be taken by drawing lots where they do not reach agreement upon one proposal; the third sentence of subsection 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis. Where it appears necessary, due regard being had to the workload of the Federal Supervisory Body, or where the proposals of the organisations specified by name within one group are too few in number, the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth may also nominate several assessors and deputy assessors; the fifth sentence of this subsection shall apply mutatis mutandis.
The members of the Federal Supervisory Body shall not be bound by directives.
(1) The Federal Supervisory Body shall decide on recording in the list.
(2) The Federal Supervisory Body shall take action only upon application. The Federal Minister for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shall be empowered to stipulate by statutory order with the consent of the Bundesrat who has the right to make an application.
The publisher and the author of the writing shall, as far as possible, be given the opportunity to make a statement in the proceedings before the Federal Supervisory Body.
In the cases contemplated by section 9 subsection 3 an order for recording in the list shall require a two-thirds majority, and in any event a majority including at least seven of the members of the Federal Supervisory Body involved in the decision.
(1) The decisions of the Federal Supervisory Body shall be notified to
(2) The grounds shall be appended or subsequently notified within one week.
(1) The Federal Supervisory Body may provisionally order the recording of a writing in the list where a final order for the recording of the writing in the list can clearly be expected and there is a danger that dealings in the writing will take place in large quantities within a short space of time.
(2) The provisional order shall be made unanimously by the chairperson and two further members. One member must belong to one of the groups referred to in section 9 subsection 2 (1-4).
(3) The provisional order shall cease to be in force
The period stipulated under Number 1 may before its expiry be extended by a maximum of one month. Subsection 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis. The extension shall be made known.
(1) The Federal Supervisory Body may order the recording of a writing in the list in simplified proceedings where the prerequisites of section 1 are obviously met.
(2) The decision shall be taken unanimously by the chairperson and two further members, one of whom must belong to the groups referred to in section 9 subsection 2 (1-4). Where agreement cannot be reached on entering the writing in the list, the Federal Supervisory Body shall decide in its composition as set out in section 9 subsection 3.
(3) An order pursuant to section 7 shall not be permissible in simplified proceedings.
(4) Against a decision in simplified proceedings the parties affected (section 12) may within one month of notification submit an application to the Federal Supervisory Body for a decision to be taken in the composition set out in section 9 subsection 3.
The list shall be kept by the chairperson of the Federal Supervisory Body.
A writing whose entry in the list has been ordered shall be recorded in the list without delay. It shall be removed from the list without delay where the order is reversed or ceases to be in force under section 15 subsection 3 (1).
(1) A writing shall, without the need for entry in the list or an announcement, be subject to the restrictions set out in sections 3 to 5 where it has entirely or essentially the same content as a writing entered in the list. The same shall apply where a court has returned a finding in a final and binding judgment that a writing is pornographic or has the content described in section 130 subsection 2 or section 131 of the Criminal Code.
(2) Where there is doubt as to whether the requirements of subsection 1 are met, the chairperson shall obtain a ruling from the Federal Supervisory Body. An application (first sentence of subsection 2 of section 11) shall not be necessary. Section 12 shall apply mutatis mutandis.
(3) Where the writing is entered in the list, section 19 shall apply mutatis mutandis.
(1) Where a writing is entered in the list or removed from it, this shall be made known with reference to the relevant decision for the federal territory.
(2) Announcements for the federal territory shall be made in the Federal Gazette.
Prior to bringing an action before the administrative courts there shall be no need for examination in preliminary proceedings. The action shall not have a suspensive effect. It shall be brought against the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Supervisory Body.
(1) Any person who, in respect of a writing whose entry in the list has been announced or of one the writings referred to in section 6,
shall be punished by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.
(2) The same punishment shall be incurred by anyone
(3) Where the offender acts negligently, the punishment shall be a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine.
(4) Subsections 1 to 3 shall not be applied where the person having the care and custody of the child or juvenile offers, gives or makes the writing accessible to it.
(5) The court can desist from imposing punishment under subsections 1 to 3 where the offender who has offered, given or made accessible the writing to a child or juvenile is a juvenile or belongs to the circle of persons referred to in section 52 subsection 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
(6) Where a child or juvenile has offered, given or made accessible the writing to another child or juvenile, the youth office shall take the measures permissible under the existing provisions. The judge at the guardianship court may issue instructions upon application by the youth office or ex officio.
(1) Any person
shall be deemed to have committed a regulatory offence.
(2) For the regulatory offence an administrative fine of up to thirty thousand Deutschmark may be imposed.
in the version of 23 August 1962 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 597), last amended by Article 48 of the Sixth Statutory Order for the adjustment of competences of 21.9.1997 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2390)
The Federal Supervisory Body shall be established at the seat of the Federal Government.
Entitled to make application under section 11 subsection 2 of the Act shall be the main youth authorities of the Länder, the Land youth offices, youth offices and the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
(1) The recording of a writing (section 1 subsections 1 and 3 of the Act) in the list shall require a written application and a written statement of the grounds. The application shall be accompanied by at least three copies of the writing and thirteen copies of the written application. Where a decision in simplified proceedings (section 15a of the Act) can be anticipated, four copies of the application shall suffice.
(2) Where the application is made by telefax or telegraph, the appendices required under subsection 1 shall be submitted at a later date.
(3) Where several applications are made in respect of the same writing, there shall be a single set of proceedings for the hearing and decision in respect of all the applications.
(1) Upon receipt of the application the chairperson shall set the date for the hearing.
(2) The parties shall be notified of the hearing date by recorded delivery or by service under section 3 and section 5 subsection 2 of the Act to regulate service in administrative procedure of 3 July 1952 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 379) where they have their place of abode or their business premises in the domestic territory. The notification of the date must reach the recipient at least two weeks before the hearing. At the same time the parties shall be informed of the names of the members of the Federal Supervisory Body and their deputies who have been called upon to participate in the decision. The notifications made to the parties shall, with the exception of that to the applicant, be accompanied by a copy of the application.
(3) The parties can waive their right to the notification of the date and to the maintaining of the stipulated period.
(4) Parties shall be the applicant, the publisher and the author. The provisions of section 2 subsection 1 and section 4 of the Literary Copyright Act relating to the publishers of collected works, translators and other persons shall be observed.
(5) It shall be ascertained before the start of the hearing that notification was made within the stipulated period (subsection 2). Where it cannot be ascertained that notification was made, or that it was made within the period stipulated in subsection 2, the hearing shall be postponed unless the right to such notification or to the maintaining of the stipulated period has been waived.
(1) Any member of the Federal Supervisory Body (chairperson or assessor) who declares himself biased in a particular case shall not be permitted to take part in the hearing and decision. Such declaration shall be made in good time before the start of the hearing.
(2) The parties can refuse to accept a member of the Federal Supervisory Body for reasons of bias where there are grounds which are such as to justify suspicion as to the neutrality of the member.
(1) Such refusal by a party shall reach the Federal Supervisory Body in written form at the latest three days before the hearing. The reason for refusal shall be substantiated. The decision on the non-acceptance of the member shall be taken after hearing him by the remaining members of the Federal Supervisory Body on the basis of a simple majority. The decision shall not be contestable.
(4) In the cases contemplated by subsections 1 and 2 the chairperson shall be replaced by his deputy, an assessor from one of the Länder (section 9 subsection 1 of the Act) and an assessor from a group (section 9 subsection 2 of the Act) by their deputies.
(1) The hearing shall be oral. The chairperson can request witnesses and experts to attend the hearing. Testimonies and specialist reports as well as other documents can be read out. With regard to expenses for witnesses and experts, the provisions of the Act to regulate expenses for witnesses and experts of 26 July 1957 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 902) shall apply.
(2) The hearing shall not be public. The parties have a right to be present; the chairperson may grant other persons the right to be present.
(3) The parties may allow themselves to be represented by persons with due written authorisation.
(1) The chairperson or his deputy shall open, lead and close the hearing. He shall be responsible for maintaining order at the hearing.
(2) The parties present or their representatives shall be heard.
(3) The assessors shall have the right to put questions to the parties.
(1) A written record shall be kept of the hearing.
(1) At the subsequent discussion and voting, only those members of the Federal Supervisory Body who have been called upon to decide shall be allowed to be present, together with any persons who have been appointed to the Federal Supervisory Body for training at the highest civil servant level and who have received appropriate permission from the chairperson. They shall be duty-bound to maintain silence as regards events at the discussion and voting.
(2) The decision shall be taken on the basis of the oral hearing conducted by the Federal Supervisory Body in the prescribed composition. It shall be pronounced after the discussion and voting and shall be signed by the chairperson. Service of the decision under section 14 subsection 1 of the Act shall be made within two weeks of the close of the hearing.
(1) Service shall be made pursuant to the Act to regulate service in administrative procedure of 3 July 1952.
(1) Where it is intended to record a writing (section 1 subsections 1 and 3 of the Act) in the list in simplified proceedings (section 15a of the Act), the chairperson of the Federal Supervisory Body shall inform the parties (section 4 subsection 4) accordingly. Section 4 subsection 2, first sentence, shall apply mutatis mutandis. The notification must reach the the recipient at least one week before the decision. The notification made to the parties shall, with the exception of that made to the applicant, be accompanied by a copy of the application. The applicant shall not be notified where he waives his right to such notification or where he has applied for the decision in simplified proceedings.
(2) The decision pursuant to section 15a of the Act shall be taken without an oral hearing.
The chairperson shall, at the start of the first sitting at which they are present, inform the assessors and persons whose presence he has allowed under the first sentence of section 8 subsection 1 of the secrecy attaching to the outcome of the discussion and voting (section 8 subsection 1, second sentence). The assessors he shall additionally inform of their freedom from any directives (section 10 of the Act). He shall also request the assessors from the groups (section 9 subsection 2 of the Act) to commit themselves, by giving him their hand, to the exercise of their office in a manner which is conscientious and unbiased and in conformity with the Statutory Order to combat bribery of and betrayal of secrets by non-civil servants in the version of 22 May 1943 (Reich Law Gazette I, p. 351). The formal proce-dure seeking this commitment shall be recorded in writing.
Where the outcome of the examination is that a writing (section 1 subsections 1 and 3 of the Act) whose entry in the list has been applied for can be regarded as obscene or indecent within the meaning of sections 184 and 184a of the Criminal Code, the chairperson, after the recording in the list, shall pass on the information about the writing to the central office for the combatting of obscene writings and images which is competent for the place of publication or, where the place of publication is not known or is situated abroad, to the central office competent for the place of dissemination, so that a further decision can be taken. The applicant shall be informed of this.
(1) The Federal Minister for Youth, Family and Health shall nominate the deputy of the chairperson. Each Land government shall nominate a deputy for the assessor nominated by it. The Federal Minister for Youth, Family and Health shall nominate from each group referred to in section 9 subsection 2 of the Act several assessors and their deputies.
(2) The sequence in which the group assessors referred to in section 9 subsection 2 of the Act take part in the separate hearings shall be laid down in advance for a specified period by the chairperson of the Federal Supervisory Body.
(3) For the rotation of the Länder assessors the chairperson of the Federal Supervisory Body shall reach agreement with the Länder assessors in laying down a fixed sequence in advance for a specified period.
(4) The two assessors who have to participate in decisions under sections 15 and 15a of the Act and their deputies shall be stipulated in advance for a specified period by the Federal Supervisory Body in the composition for each separate hearing.
(5) Assessors who are unable to attend or who have stepped down shall be replaced by their deputies in the sequence laid down in subsections 2 to 4; where the chairperson is unable to attend or has stepped down, he shall be replaced by his deputy.
The chairperson shall publish the list of writings harmful to young persons in a clearly readable form. He shall be responsible for additions to and new editions of the list.
No longer applicable
This statutory order shall enter into force on the day after its promulgation.
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