Changes in the German copyright law
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The extension of the copyright law aimed at fighting illegal file-sharing
adopted on 11 April 2008 by the German Government creates concerns on how
the p2p-related lawsuits will be considered under the new law.
The new text forces the ISPs to reveal the names and IP addresses of the
file sharers. However, some lawyers warn that the procedure is limited by
conditions that could turn against the music industry in court procedings .
The present procedure is as follows: industry detectives report the IP
numbers of file sharers to the German police who traces the suspects and
prosecutes those who offer more than 1000 tracks.
However, the industry can demand the police files of all file sharers and
has already sued 16 000 of them for civil damages.
With the new law, the music industry fears it will no longer have access to
this police data and moreover, a prosecuted file-sharer will only have to
pay 100 euros instead of 1 000 or more as until now. The old bounties were
considered as unfair and irresponsible.
Other elements may be unfavourable to the record industry. The limitation to
“commercial-scale” file sharers in the new law prevents the industry from
catching the small illegal file sharers it has been tracking down lately.
The law also makes it more expensive for the industry which has now to
support the costs of the legal cases.
It is too early yet to decide whether the new law is really good news for
file sharers as there is no clear definition of the term “commercial level”
for which the 100 euro fine has to be paid in case of law infringement. At
this point, the privacy advocates as well as rights holders believe that the
interpretation of the law will be in the hands of the court.
Music industry slams new German law on file-sharing (13.04.2008)
New German copyright makes P2P lawsuits cheaper, more confusing (16.04.2008)
EDRi-gram: File-sharers’ identification refused by German prosecutors