• 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
NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Women's World Cup
Germany face off with England for third place
Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

Germany face off with England for third place

England and Germany wipe away the tears as they play for pride and third place at the Women's World Cup in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims
Photo: DPA

Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel's office Thursday asked the US ambassador to discuss new allegations about NSA spying, a German government source said. READ  

Google game slammed over use of death camps
Dachau concentration camp. Photo: DPA

Google game slammed over use of death camps

News that Google is using the sites of Nazi concentration camps as elements in an "augmented reality" project - an online game linked to the real world - has caused extreme upset to Holocaust survivors' organizations. READ  

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye
A Soviet Cosmonaut mosaic in Potsdam. Photo: Digital Cosmonaut

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye

It took a German who spent much of his early life abroad to document some of the hidden, abandoned, or forgotten-about corners of Berlin in English. The Local meets "Digital Cosmonaut", one of Berlin's best-loved bloggers. READ  

Greek President cancels Berlin visit
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos(l) with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Photo: DPA

Greek President cancels Berlin visit

Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of Greece, has cancelled plans to visit Berlin next Tuesday, German media reported on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
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

6,858
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd