January 7, 2013

Satellite dishes are not always protected speech

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 2:07 pm

A homeowners’ association in Rotterdam recently wanted a member to remove a satellite dish from his flat. Dishes are considered an eyesore and they decrease the enjoyment other owners have of their flats.

However, it’s not that simple, Internet lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet writes. Freedom of speech also includes the ability to receive information, which is why judges have been reluctant to outlaw satellite dishes in the past.

The homeowners’ association won its lawsuit last July because the homeowner had other ways to watch his favourite TV channels, such as on the Internet. A fundamental right does not always trump a homeowners’ association’s articles.

Engelfriet omitted to mention that the satellite TV watching flat owner was of Turkish descent. When Dutch people see a street full of satellite dishes, they generally assume that the neighbourhood is popular with immigrants. Homeowners fear that a neighbourhood’s property value will drop if the neighbourhood is perceived to be too ‘black’.

In this case, the plaintiff had also made it clear that it wasn’t he who needed access to the satellite channels, but his wife.

The plaintiff was ordered to pay all his opponent’s legal costs, which the judge determined to be 200 euro.

(Photo by Kai Schreiber, some rights reserved)

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January 16, 2012

Eleven-year-old Tijmen from Gelderland gets satellite named after him

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 2:32 pm

The European Union is working together with the European Space Agency to launch it’s own global positioning system called Galileo. In total 18 satellites will be launched, and they will named after children from the member states who won a drawing competition.

According to Eindhoven’s Dagblad, the lucky Dutch kid who will see his name immortalized is the 11-year-old Tijmen van der Kraaij from the village of Winssen in Gelderland, just West of Nijmegen. He won his prize with a drawing of the fair space ship TMN4VK (shown above) which seems like a cross between the Space Shuttle, the Soyuz and the rocket from Tintin—surely the best of three worlds.


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