SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Germany gets tough on online plagiarism

The internet has made stealing content easy, but more German businesses and individuals are starting to wage war against growing online plagiarism.

Germany gets tough on online plagiarism
Photo: DPA

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.

“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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

SHOW COMMENTS