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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany 312

An anonymous reader writes Following the blocking of Uber in Berlin, DE, the district court of Frankfurt/Main has issued a restraining order for Uber services all over Germany (German original). The district court is alleging "uncompetitive behavior" (Unlauteres Wettbewerbsverhalten) on Uber's part, and has proclaimed that not following the restraining order will result in a fine of €250.000 or imprisonment. This ruling is related to the German "Personenbeförderungsgesetz" and is outlining that no legal entity (person, enterprise) is allowed to transfer passengers without having passed the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage.
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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

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  • And while it conflicts with ideals I consider higher, proportionality and due process, I can't not be amused at the irony of attempting to corner a market resulting your outright exclusion from it.

    • Even if the term actually meant "anti-competitive behavior", it would be accurate roughly in the sense that the "Ministry of Truth" has to do with truth and the "Ministry of Peace" has to do with peace.

      Of course, the term "unlauterer Wettbewerb" doesn't even mean "anti-competitive behavior", it means something like "indecent competition" or "immoral competition". The best translation is probably "unfair competition", although that doesn't quite capture the emotional force of the term in German. Usually, com

    • I fail to see how entering a market is equivalent to trying to corner it. They're not trying to block out other rideshare services. If anything it is others who have the market cornered, and uber is trying to open the door.
      • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:22PM (#47808649)
        Keep in mind they would not be facing these injunctions if they were playing by the same rules as the competition. It is kinda like a street vender skipping on sales tax, of course they can offer lower prices if they do not have to pay taxes, but that is pretty unfair to the stores that are collecting it. Thus unfair trade practices.
        • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:38PM (#47808871)
          That is at the core of the issue. Either allow all taxi drivers to operate without license or regulation, or require uber drivers to meet those requirements. Anything else would seem unfair to me.
          • by jythie ( 914043 )
            And that gets to the root of much of this, Uber supporters WANT it to be unfair out of some feeling that the incumbents must be keeping competition out through unfair means (not to say they are not in some areas), thus they are applying the anti-golden rule (do unto others as you suspect they are doing unto you)... or at minimal 'people with new gold should rule'
        • Keep in mind that the current ruleset is built for the entrenched players. If Uber waited around for regulatory compliance, they wouldnt be in business. The plain fact is ALL OF MODERN LIFE IS MONEY. There is a price for everything and those that would consider themselves your betters force payment.
          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            There is a price for everything and those that would consider themselves your betters force payment.

            They're called regulations, and many of them are in place for good reason, such as public safety. In society, we all have to play by the same rules.
            • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @02:45PM (#47809535)

              Many regulations are in place to assure safety and the public good. However, all too often, the regulated get control of the regulatory agencies ("regulatory capture") and then regulations are created to preserve the incumbents dominant market position and/or business model.

            • There USED to be a good reason for many of them. Then they started being used to cull competition, raise prices and barriers to entry for no other reason than to make more money. This is why Taxi Medallions in certain cities are worth MILLIONS.

              And from my experience, all the rules that supposedly are for "safety" and such, are more or less used a clubs and sledgehammers on competition, and doesn't actually apply to safety any longer. Technology has improved cars and safety to the point where much of those r

            • And those regulations have been unfairly corrupted to feed a few players. DO not bleat on about fairness when the industry in question is unabashedly corrupt. ANYONE that wants to drive a taxi should be able to secure licensing from the city for a NOMINAL fee.
  • Misleading (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There is no "ruling", there is a preliminary injunction -- the court hasn't ruled anything. Also, this injunction only affects the "Uber Pop" service, which is only one of the services Uber offers in Germany.

  • Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:47PM (#47808255)

    You want to play in our market? Play by our rules. Don't claim that your 'innovative new paradigm' renders those rules obselete and ignore them.

    • I'm not so sure that's right. I'm certainly not equating the two here, but certainly there's a comparison to be made with e.g. Time4Popcorn.

      Time4Popcorn effectively aims to play in the market of non-interactive entertainment delivery (films and TV series, mostly), but its developers - and certainly its users - have no interest in wanting to play by the existing rules (i.e. having to license the content at great cost, and only after spending weeks if not months of being unable to license it at all).

      I don't

      • I see Uber and the like as being in the same vein - and while Germany, London, whatever ends up 'banning' these services, I'm sure they realize that it's not going to stop then and there, and the rules will eventually have to be adjusted.

        And once the rules have been adjusted Uber is free to do business according to those rules.
        But TODAY they have to do business according to TODAYS rules. If they think the rules are outdated, they should work on changing them. But until then they have to follow them.

  • bad translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by silfen ( 3720385 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:05PM (#47808451)

    The term "Unlauteres Wettbewerbsverhalten" does not mean "uncompetitive behavior"; it means "competition that violates good taste" or "competition that violates moral standards". A better translation might be "unfair competition". []

  • Germans have rules and regulations for everything. You can give two strangers a ride when you meet them at a party without problems but as soon as the state's koffers are affected you need the Personenbeförderungsgesetz. You can use illegally obtained evidence to convict tax evaders but the same court prohibits the use of dashcam recordings as evidence (because they violate some privacy law) if you want to take a traffic offender to court. Some logic there.... As Nietzsche said some 150 years ago: Th
    • Riiight. You're forgetting one thing: The insurance companies.

      As soon as you have been in an accident while driving for Uber, your insurance company WILL drop your contract AND sue you - because the standard insurance contract is not intended for transportation services.

      • Do they also punish drivers who provide "transportation services" to pizza pies?
        • If they state that they're using their car for private needs and then go on to use it in a business setting - certainly.

          Over here, you insure the car instead of the driver and you also have to tell the insurance company what you're using the car for. Lying to insurance companies was always a bad idea, y'know?

  • The linked article lacks one important detail: The fine of up to 250,000€ is for each instance of breaking the injunction.

    Sure, the first violation may only cost 2,000€. But that will go up for every violation. And you can bet your ass that the competitors will use the apps to check on Uber. And they will report any violation they find.

  • the relevant tests and having the appropriate insurance coverage

    While I've never used Uber/Lyft, I'm hoping some of you have and can shed some light on it.

    Have any of you actually asked for proof of insurance or a valid registration before getting into the car? Does Uber/Lyft do any checking to make sure that stuff hasn't expired?

    One other question: If I'm getting a ride via Uber and we get in an accident, and I get hurt, regardless of who's fault it is, do I go after the Uber driver, Uber company or do I have to file my insurance claims against the other driver? I wo

    • I have never used Uber, but I suspect that in an accident situation you start with the person driving the car you were in, regardless of who is at-fault, then let the insurance companies sort it all out. Your driver could be is a heap of trouble if they are involved in an at-fault accident while driving for one of these services, and it is found that they do not have a policy that covers for-hire services (most home/auto policies don't). You as the passenger could be left cover your own costs, since the d

  • Now I can tell my nagging wife that she's no longer allowed to ride in das auto with me.
  • I wonder how many of those who are up in arms about letting services like Uber and Lyft market their services would allow commercial hardware and software companies to make changes to GPL licensed software without attribution or sharing their modified source code?

    Or should Apple support my home built PC if I put OS X on it? If I paid for the OS, the vendor should support that, right? Why should I pay extra for their's no different, right?

    To me, it's simple - if you want to market your services

  • "Public sentiment toward the company turned abruptly negative after the unveiling of its phone app, which responds to car reservation requests by announcing, 'Die UberMenchen are coming to pick you up!,' and asking the customer to don a distinctive badge, so that they can be identified."

  • The german national anthem [] so begins:

    Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles
    uber alles in der Welt.

    Now try singing it after blocking Uber...

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.