• Germany's news in English
 
Porn pirates set to be outed by lawyers
Photo: DPA

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
'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP
Edathy preparing to face questions in Berlin Photo: DPA

'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP

A former rising star of German politics who resigned after pictures of naked children were allegedly found on his official laptop said Thursday what he did was "wrong, but legal." READ  

This week in history
A Brandt name to relaunch a country
Willy Brandt being sworn into office in 1972 Photo: DPA

A Brandt name to relaunch a country

We know him as Willy Brandt - but that was just a pseudonym the former chancellor took to avoid the Nazis. READ  

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find
A similar bomb defused in Potsdam in September 2013. Photo: DPA

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find

Local authorities evacuated some 10,000 people from central Potsdam after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found on a building site. READ  

Sunny outlook for business this winter
Photo: DPA

Sunny outlook for business this winter

German business confidence rose in December on the back of falling oil prices and a weak euro, the Ifo economic institute said Thursday, as the prospects for Europe's biggest economy grew sunnier. READ  

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'
Photo: DPA

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Thursday that sanctions against Russia remain "unavoidable" until Ukraine regains its sovereignty and independence. READ  

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence
Photo: DPA

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence

Germany and Dortmund football star Marco Reus was hit by a €540,000 fine Thursday, after state prosecutors in Dortmund confirmed he has been driving for years without a licence. READ  

British and German troops relive Xmas truce
Soldiers in World War One period uniforms watch the football match. Photo: DPA

British and German troops relive Xmas truce

Teams from the British and German armies played a friendly football game in Aldershot on Wednesday in memory of the Christmas truce of 1914. READ  

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Photo: DPA

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba

Berlin has welcomed the thaw in US-Cuban relations partly brokered in secret by Pope Francis at the Vatican. READ  

American guilty of killing Hamburg student
Diren Dede's grieving parents outside the court in Missoula Photo: DPA

American guilty of killing Hamburg student

A US court has found a man who shot and killed 17-year old German exchange student Diren Dede guilty of deliberate homicide. READ  

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016
Photo: DPA

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016

After months of bickering among the coalition parties, the cabinet finally agreed to put a road toll for foreigners before parliament, but open questions about its financial viability and legality remain. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
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

3,166
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd