Austrian power company demands take down critical website

By EDRi · March 24, 2005

The Austrian regional power company TIWAG (based in Tirol) has claimed
500.000 euro in damages if an activist doesn’t immediately take down a
critical website. On 10 March they filed preliminary proceedings at the
court of Innsbruck. On 23 March they sent another claim of 100.000 euro to
the hosting provider of the site (based in Germany). TIWAG claims the
information is confidential and the site a violation of their trademarks.

Austrian EDRI-member Quintessenz reports that two weeks ago, activist
Markus Wilhelm published a list of 20 mainly American companies and banks
with whom TIWAG allegedly closed cross-border leasing deals. The address
of his website was But after a claim from TIWAG the
national registrar of the Austrian top level domain deleted the domain
name. Wilhelm then reopened his website at There is no
national representative for the .org top level domain in Austria, since it
is controlled by the international not-for-profit organisation On
top of that, he hosted the site in Germany, not in Austria.

Austria has a history of power companies claiming reputation damage on the
Internet. Earlier, the power company of Linz sued a group of radio
broadcasting amateurs for publishing a critical document about the effects
of the new ‘Powerline Technology’. According to the radio amateurs,
supported by all the leading broadcasting authorities and technicians in
the country, introducing this outdated technology would make it impossible
to receive important short wave transmissions from the BBC,
Deutschlandfunk, Voice of Amerika, Radio Free Europe, the Red Cross and
all kinds of amateur radio. The document was immediately mirrored
worldwide and Linzstrom lost the case in court. Their claims however did
lead to another fitting reward: the people’s choice for the Austrian Big
Brother Award 2004. 50 Hertz Mafia will 500ยท000 (in German, 25.03.2005)

Critical website

People’s choice Austrian BBA 2004 (26.10.2004)