I took the website back down for a very good reason — we want the blessing of our lawyer first, and he hasn’t looked at it yet. In Germany there is the possibility that someone can send you an Abmahnung, which is a letter telling you that you’ve done something wrong, broken some consumer protection law, and this allows him or her to basically demand money. Wikipedia explains:
In most cases, the law allows the party sending the letter to demand payment of legal costs associated with the sending of the letter. In theory, this allows anybody that observes a violation of a law that may be covered by an Abmahnung to hire an attorney, have a letter sent, and be reimbursed for the attorney’s fees. In practice, a lawyer may do this without having been hired by a client who has been wronged, in essence searching for violators of covered laws and demanding payment from them for having found them. Since the enormous proliferation of web sites, this abuse of the law has led to the so-called Abmahnwelle (-wave), as lawyers and copyright holders are trawling the internet searching for even minor and usually unintended violations of e.g. copyright law, with some law firms sending thousands of letter per year demanding payment.
This is absolutely true, and we’ve fallen victim to these sharks already in the past, for example when a merchant software inexplicibly dropped the price of a book below the legally allowed price according to the Fixed Book Price Agreement. German websites and even German blogs(!)*, are required to include an Impressum, and there are strict laws about where it goes and what must be in it.
No need to put ourselves through that again! So, the site is temporarily down but will be up again as soon as we get a professional OK.
*this may explain why there are far fewer personal blogs in Germany. The laws are different in Austria, as far as I know, but since I’ll be blogging from across the border soon enough, I put one in as well.