In the clearest statement yet on how the government plans to tackle internet piracy, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told news magazine Der Spiegel that Germany would refuse to join other countries in passing laws that would cut off the internet service of repeat offenders.
“I consider blocking the internet to be fundamentally the wrong way to go, even for copyright infringements,” she said.
Some 39 countries are negotiating an arrangement to work together to battle internet piracy, called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The details of how they will work, and what instruments or penalties they would use against internet pirates, are unclear because the discussions are still at an early stage, sources said.
But leaks indicated many voices in the negotiations wanted a widespread agreement that internet service providers should take greater responsibility.
The providers would effectively be deputised by law enforcement authorities to watch out for copyright infringements by their customers and cut off their internet service when they were caught.
But Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said the government was united against such an approach.
“The government will not accept any agreement under international law that includes capping the internet,'' Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. ''The refusal to block the internet is the common position of all the government. We determined in the coalition agreement that no initiative would resort to the legal blocking of the internet.''
Such a legislation – under which the internet service provider would cut off the customer after three infringements – has already been passed by several European Union countries. France has passed a law and Britain is discussing a similar one.