• Germany's news in English
 

Porn pirates set to be outed by lawyers

Published: 21 Aug 2012 12:44 GMT+02:00

Using the driest possible legalese, the Urmann and Colleagues (U+C) firm announced on its website on Tuesday that from September 1, visitors to their site would find a list of people who had been involved in disputes over illegal porn internet downloads.

The firm, based in the southern German town of Regensburg, is one of the country's biggest copyright law firms and represents a number of pornographers.

The new statement suggests it is poised to go after people who pirate pornography, by sending out thousands of cease-and-desist notices and compensation demands.

"As legal representative of its clients, the firm U+C warns owners of internet connections who have violated copyright," the firm said in a statement to Der Spiegel magazine. "These clients include companies from the pornography industry who believe their copyright has been violated."

Specifically, this means file-sharing, or as U+C puts it, "the unauthorized downloading of copyright-protected works combined with the simultaneous offering of that work by opening one's hard drive to other internet users."

In 2007 the German Constitutional Court ruled that it was legal for law firms to publish the names of potential opponents to advertise their services - though in the case the court considered this was meant for companies rather than private individuals.

But other legal experts have questioned whether publishing personal details of suspected file-sharers would be legal.

The weekly Wochenblatt newspaper said U+C had the names of 150,000 people on its files who have been sent warnings for breach of copyright. But the paper also says that "touchy cases" will be published first. The paper says that church rectories, police stations, and the embassies of Arab countries protected by diplomatic immunity could be on the list.

The U+C has refused to talk about which or how many internet users it intends to “out”.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:02 August 21, 2012 by Snapply
I don't know why germans like to believe that they respect information privacy when we constantly see things like this happen. Internet freedom and anonymity is on par with China sometimes :s
17:03 August 21, 2012 by Englishted
I agree snappy German is the most backward and interfering country in Europe as far as internet freedom is concerned ,the reason is because the law is being dictated by very greedy lawyers as above.

I just am waiting for somebody to illegally download a German song while sitting in a Mac Donalds because under German law it would be their fault for not protecting their internet connection .

Did anyone else see the magic word "suspected" because at the moment you are guilty until you can 100% prove you are innocent .

But please if something has changed and I'm not up to speed do tell I will not be offended.
19:50 August 21, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
From the country that gave us the SS and Stasi this is to be expected. Don't take any notice of Germany's privacy laws. They are but an illusion. The only reason the German government wanted to ban Google Streetview is because they didn't think of it first.
07:51 August 22, 2012 by wood artist
As the owner of some copyrighted material, I can appreciate the issues presented here. However, I do find the rules in Germany a bit erratic.

For example, I uploaded a video to Youtube. It consists of music that I composed, played back through my own midi connection, with video that consists of the words to the aria. The title includes all that information. GEMA blocked it in Germany, saying it possibly (likely) infringed on a copyright. When I challenged them to explain who, other than me, could possibly hold a copyright on music that I wrote, they said they didn't really know. I guess I should be happy they bothered to respond, but they've never lifted the restriction. Oddly, it's the one aria in the whole opera that has words in English. Go figure.

wa
09:54 August 22, 2012 by Legal E
And I suspect, they (Lawfirm or clients) would actively place torrents with tracking scripts on the net to entrap downloaders. Then, they would put out an aggressive cease and desist letter. I have seen this myself, with a script that logs your PC data and sends all information back which would breach the wire tap laws (as they will have no wire tap warrant).

Simple method is to install an IP blocker and also surf behind a proxy. But the business case is to go after the people who do not install these security breaches. Also it is a civil case, I would find it difficult if they go after them in court, and the data they obtained on your pc without a warrant would be inadmissible.
09:56 August 22, 2012 by Snapply
With GEMA you have to prove them wrong, which is a completely backwards idea of justice and law.
Today's headlines
Interior ministry bans Salafist group
Thomas de Maizière. Photo: DPA

Interior ministry bans Salafist group

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière ordered the dissolving of salafist organisation Tauhid Germany on Thursday, saying that the group radicalized youth and encouraged them to travel to Syria to fight for Isis. READ  

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims
MPs in the Bundestag (German parliament) fall silent for a minute before beginning the day's work. Photo: DPA

New minute of silence for Germanwings victims

Germans again took a few moments on Thursday to remember those killed in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 plane crash on Tuesday. READ  

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland by plane. Photo: DPA

Ukraine refugees make tracks to Germany

Germany received one of the highest numbers of Ukrainian asylum seekers in Europe last year, according to data released last week by Eurostat and analyzed by The Local. READ  

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty
Narendra Modi. Photo: DPA

Merkel must be firm with Modi: Amnesty

Speaking to the The Local ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany next month, Amnesty International warned that his poor record on human rights must factor into the talks. READ  

Alps plane crash
Höwedes takes focus off football
Photo: DPA

Höwedes takes focus off football

Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes held up a sign in memory of children from his home town killed in the Germanwings plane crash before a friendly against Australia on Wednesday night. READ  

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne
Alexander Gerst and Mayor of Cologne Jürgen Roters. Photo: Stadt Köln

'Space stone' brought back to Cologne

German astronaut Alexander Gerst visited the Cologne city hall on Wednesday to present a special gift – a stone from the city's famous cathedral that he'd taken into space with him. READ  

Germanwings crash
Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims
A German flag flying at half mast at the Bundestag (German parliament) Photo: DPA

Germany mourns for 4U9525 victims

Flags flew at half mast across Germany on Wednesday in memory of the people killed in Tuesday's crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Business confidence hits 8-month high

Business confidence hits 8-month high

German business confidence rose to its highest level in eight months in March, as optimism continues to grow about the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, the Ifo economic institute said on Wednesday. READ  

Germanwings crash
German cops, lawyers join crash probe
Photo: DPA

German cops, lawyers join crash probe

State prosecutors from Düsseldorf and federal police forensics experts are on their way to France to join in the investigation into crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525. READ  

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row
Debra Milke at a press conference in Pheonix on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Berliner freed after 25 years on death row

A Berlin-born woman who spent 25 years in a US jail accused of participating in the murder of her son spoke publicly about her experience on Tuesday, the first time since her release. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
National
Germanwings co-pilot was 'locked out of cockpit' before crash
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,178
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd