• Germany's news in English

Germany gets tough on online plagiarism

Kristen Allen · 5 Jun 2009, 13:30

Published: 05 Jun 2009 13:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

And there will likely be more severe legal consequences as ideas of intellectual property adapt to the web, Hamburg-based company Textguard told The Local on Friday.

“Believe me, much more is copied than you can imagine, we find this with every search,” the company's founder Claus-Michael Gerigk said. “One example is a poet we worked with, though she was not particularly well-known, a search on 600 of her texts revealed the same number of unauthorised copies.”

Gerigk has developed a search tool for publishers, newspapers, authors and universities that can meticulously go through up to 1,000 texts per hour. While Gerigk called the algorithms his software uses “old,” he said Textguard is the forerunner in offering the accompanying service of legal advice for those who discover their song lyrics, poems, articles, books and other texts have been plagiarised.

The company takes approximately 50 percent of whatever monetary compensation their lawyers get from plagiarism cases – effectively making Textguard a bounty hunter in what German weekly Die Zeit called a new movement to “end the Wild West mentality of the internet” on Friday.

The paper wrote that Textguard and competitors like Attributor are serving an increasing number of German publishers who have discovered that they can get cash from the copiers.

Story continues below…

“What’s changing is the idea that everything on the internet is free,” Gerigk told The Local. “There is a trend where people are beginning to recognise the value of their intellectual property.”

And plagiarism can be expensive, ranging from a few hundred euros to the “five-digit level,” Karlsruhe copyright infringement lawyer Peter Nümann told Die Zeit.

Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dad who auctioned baby on eBay restricted from seeing child
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd