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Sharing 2,999 Songs, 199 Movies Is Safe In Germany

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the aappropriate-allocation-of-prosecutorial-resources dept.

Movies 212

unassimilatible writes "Torrentfreak is reporting that German prosecutors will now only pursue larger-scale file sharers on the Internet, as they are tired of being the entertainment industry's profit collector. 'Prosecutors in a German state have announced they will refuse to entertain the majority of file-sharing lawsuits in [the] future. It appears that only commercial-scale copyright infringers will be pursued, with those sharing under 3,000 music tracks and 200 movies dropping under the prosecution radar.' And the money quote: 'It seems that the legal system in Germany has had enough of this "abuse" of the criminal law system for "civil" monetary gain.' If only an American politician would make this point. Why should taxpayers underwrite their government becoming enforcers for the entertainment industry? Then again, when you see how much politicians are being paid, an answer suggests itself."

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German commies (5, Funny)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | about 6 years ago | (#24617085)

Bush should break off diplomatic relations with such an evil country. That will show them ...

Re:German commies (4, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | about 6 years ago | (#24617289)

"German prosecutors only pursue larger-scale file sharers. Bush attacks Paraguay."

John McCain: Warmonger +1, Informative (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617415)

Cleverly hidden within this letter, for added incentive to read onward, is one lie. Not a lie of statistical or grammatical error but a ludicrous falsehood at once so absurd as to strike the reader as an insult to human intelligence and yet so mentally deficient as to convince the reader that I will let John McCain's record speak for itself. The points I plan to make in this letter will sound tediously familiar to everyone who wants to stop McCain's encroachments on our heritage. Nevertheless, his hypocrisy is transparent. Even the least discerning among us can see right through it.

By this, I mean that McCain ignores a breathtaking number of facts, most notably:

Fact: McCain's votaries must mend their ways.

Fact: What McCain considers a fair shake, the rest of us consider a repressive, humiliating, culture-stripping experience.

Fact: McCain's declamations have earned him opprobrium, suspicion, resentment, and hatred.

In addition, McCain has been deluding people into believing that he has achieved sainthood. Don't let him delude you, too. Do his loyalists halt the destructive process that is carrying our civilization toward extinction? No, that would be the correct and logical thing to do. Instead, they ransack people's homes.

Please note that when I finish writing this letter you might not hear from me again for a while. I simply don't have enough strength left to take the mechanisms, language, ideology, and phraseology for determining what is right and what is wrong out of the hands of McCain and his serfs and put them back in the hands of ordinary people. Nevertheless, we have a choice. Either we let ourselves be led like lambs to the slaughter by McCain and his satraps or we defend with dedication and ferocity the very rights that McCain so desperately wants to abolish. While I don't expect you to have much trouble making up your mind you should nevertheless consider that McCain's bloody-minded attempt to construct a creative response to my previous letter was absolutely pitiful. Really, McCain, stringing together a bunch of solecistic insults and seemingly random babble is hardly effective. It simply proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the last time I told his cohorts that I want to catalogue his swindles and perversions they declared in response, "But it is obdurate to question McCain's conjectures." Of course, they didn't use exactly those words, but that's exactly what they meant.

So what if McCain hates me for pointing out that his brain must work very different from mine? Let him hate me. I consider such hatred a mark of honor, a mark of distinction. He is an interesting character. On the one hand, McCain likes to marginalize and eventually even outlaw responsible critics of beer-guzzling Luddites. But on the other hand, I recently heard him tell a bunch of people that sectarianism is a be-all, end-all system that should be forcefully imposed upon us. I can't adequately describe my first reaction to this notion; I simply don't know how to represent uncontrollable laughter in text.

When McCain says that he has his moral compass in tact, he's just plain wrong -- not "partially wrong" but "entirely and absolutely wrong". And let me tell you, he asserts that principles don't matter. Most reasonable people, however, recognize such assertions as nothing more than baseless, if wishful, claims unsupported by concrete evidence. He accuses me of being a liar. The only proven liar around here, however, is McCain. Only a die-hard liar like McCain could claim that all any child needs is a big dose of television every day. The truth, in case you haven't already figured it out, is that to say that censorship could benefit us is appalling nonsense and untrue to boot.

I am reminded of the quote, "His principles have clearly been demonstrated to be coterminous with those of directionless, dodgy devil-worshippers." This comment is not as tyrannical as it seems because McCain is a man utterly without honor, without principles, without a shred of genuine patriotism. That's why I say that we must reach out for things with permanence, things beyond wealth and comfort and pleasure, things that have real meaning. Those who claim otherwise do so only to justify their own shrewish harangues.

Now that I think about it, I have a New Year's resolution for McCain: He should pick up a book before he jumps to the careless conclusion that hanging out with snivelling, tactless cutthroats is a wonderful, culturally enriching experience. It's irrelevant that my allegations are 100% true. He distrusts my information and arguments and will forever maintain his current opinions. So let me make it clear that I, hardheaded cynic that I am, no longer believe that trends like family breakdown, promiscuity, and violence are random events. Not only are they explicitly glorified and promoted by McCain's bitter long-term goals, but he believes that the Earth is flat. Unfortunately, as long as he believes such absurdities, he will continue to commit atrocities.

Just look at the bill of fare served up in recent movies and television programs and you will hardly be able to deny that if McCain had done his homework, he'd know that he has -- not once, but several times -- been able to put illiterate thoughts in our children's minds without anyone stopping him. How long can that go on? As long as his huffy witticisms are kept on life support. That's why we have to pull the plug on them and make this world a better place in which to live. I would like to comment on his attempt to associate sensationalism with mercantalism. There is no association.

I wish that some of McCain's confidants would ask themselves, "Why am I helping McCain spew forth ignorance and prejudice?" For his uninformed plans to succeed, McCain needs to dumb down our society. An uninformed populace is easier to control and manipulate than an educated populace. Any day now, schoolchildren will stop being required to learn the meanings of words like "noninterventionalist" and "homeotransplantation". They will be incapable of comprehending that some people don't seem to mind that McCain likes to base racial definitions on lineage, phrenological characteristics, skin hue, and religion. What a flighty, jealous world we live in!

McCain's sophistries were never about tolerance and equality. That was just window dressing for the "innocents". Rather, McCain likes breaking down our communities. That's the most damnable thing about him. It's also why McCain is known for walking into crowded rooms and telling everyone there that clever one-liners are a valid substitute for actual thinking. Try, if you can, to concoct a statement better calculated to show how hidebound McCain is. You can't do it. Not only that, but his henchmen have been staggering around like punch-drunk fighters hit too many times -- stunned, confused, betrayed, and trying desperately to rationalize his dictatorial slurs. It is decidedly not a pretty sight. That's all I have time now to write. If you want to get more insight into John McCain's mentality, though, then study the details of his practices. Try to see the big picture: It will amaze you. It will take your breath away. And it will convince you that evidence exists to suggest that I will not play McCain's heartless games and shift our society from a culture of conscience to a culture of consensus just like he does.

Re:John McCain: Warmonger +1, Informative (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24618485)

you have a strange notion of the meaning of the word "fact."

and you can pay $500 + for a cpu with AMD dead as. (0, Flamebait)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#24618081)

and you can pay $500 + for a low end intel cpu with AMD dead as amd makes a lot of chips there.

Also BMW will not take that sitting down.

logic error (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24617101)

The RIAA is using civil suits.

Re:logic error (4, Insightful)

Icegryphon (715550) | about 6 years ago | (#24617183)

Which takes up time in court, Which wastes tax money, Which you and I pay.

Re:logic error (4, Insightful)

pha7boy (1242512) | about 6 years ago | (#24617285)

Which takes up time in court, Which wastes tax money, Which you and I pay.

Sorry, but that is irrelevant. If you suggest that we should create a system in which only "fair" lawsuits could be brought to court, I'd ask you who would decide which is fair.

In any case, the court can always ask the looser to pay court costs if they decide that the lawsuit had no merits.

Re:logic error (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617533)

Wow! A voice of reason

You must be lost.

Re:logic error (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617659)

This system already exists in the US. You have guys filing suits like suing Tom Cruise for killing Abraham Lincoln and faking the moon landing; the court throws it out as frivilous.

          Hopefully, they will eventually do the same for the pigopolists here in the US they are in Germany; tell them they can go after the big targets but not personal-level sharing.

Re:logic error (0, Offtopic)

haystor (102186) | about 6 years ago | (#24617937)

It is entirely within your power to stop the RIAA suits as well.

Turn off your file-sharing software.

Re:logic error (3, Interesting)

SoVeryTired (967875) | about 6 years ago | (#24618015)

Well, given that the RIAA have attempted to sue people who don't own a computer, I'd be inclined to disagree...

Re:logic error (3, Insightful)

BPPG (1181851) | about 6 years ago | (#24618253)

It is entirely within your power to stop the RIAA suits as well.

Turn off your file-sharing software.

What about legitimate file-sharing, such as creative commons, open source, and free as in free beer content? And how exactly do you define "File sharing". File sharing can be done through anything as simple as e-mail or ftp.

The RIAA's been known to target the most trivial instances of file sharing, and in some cases you [afterdawn.com] don't [techdirt.com] even need a computer [metafilter.com]

Re:logic error (5, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | about 6 years ago | (#24618737)

Sure the RIAA is guilty of abuses. They should be punished.

There are legitimate uses of file sharing. They should not be prohibited.

There is an enormous population of people using p2p software to copy movies, music and software with no plans to ever pay the producers for what they use. This should at least be acknowledged.

It is the people in that third group provoking companies to lash out.

I personally have taken a different course and just don't buy what isn't worth buying. I'll do without. I'm not entitled to every song I kind of like but not enough to pay for.

Now, please proceed to mod me down again. I'm as on topic as anyone else in Slashdot, but I'm disagreeing with you and that is usually enough.

Re:logic error (2, Insightful)

swabeui (1291044) | about 6 years ago | (#24618137)

I agree. We either have a system or we don't. Allowing general exceptions because we don't like it is a slippery slope. On the other hand, I think they may be onto something here. Right now a large number of people (dare I say majority) feel the RIAA is just a bully group picking on the weak. The RIAA will not run out of people to sue, they can find 100 people tomorrow based on these limits. But.. BUT! Instead of people feeling they are picking on the weak, they will see the defendant as stupid for sharing so much. Think about it... if you are sharing 200 movies or 3000 songs, you deserve to get caught and it is not going to happen by accident.

Re:logic error (2)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24617205)

What's the RIA of AMERICA got to do with GERMANY? ...just curious...

Re:logic error (3, Insightful)

The Moof (859402) | about 6 years ago | (#24617265)

Don't think that our borders will stop the RIAA from attempting to impose their will across the globe.

Re:logic error (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24617537)

They're backing off in Germany because many people don't enjoy viewing BDSM and scheisse movies as the prosecution presents their evidence.

Re:logic error (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | about 6 years ago | (#24618721)

To be fair, the Germans are just as much into high participant groups and Bukake.

No wonder they teamed up with the Japanese in WW2!

Re:logic error (1)

BPPG (1181851) | about 6 years ago | (#24618311)

Quite right,

For example, Bill C61 passes in Canada, the RIAA would be able to prosecute Canadian file-sharers from across the border.

Re:logic error (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24617305)

Nothing. But the summary goes off an uninformed rant about [American] taxpayers and government enforcement.

Re:logic error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617467)

This is Slashdot "Incubator of uniformed rants!!"

Re:logic error (2, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 6 years ago | (#24617459)

The criminal sanctions are the wrong instrument. Copyright infringement is a matter of civil enforcement, not criminal enforcement. You cannot spam the Staatsanwaltschaften with copyright infringement.

The RIAA works hard to get the IPRED2 directive adopted which would make criminal sanctions more widely available [ipred.org] , effectively messing up the criminal penalty system for the sake of a dying Hollywood movie industry that already lost the war.

It is like the SS who hanged ordinary citizens on the fly who didn't want to defend their Fuhrer until the Endsieg and combat Russian tanks. We are close to that Endsieg of the movie industry. It is about to destroy the foundations of the internet and rule of law just to prevent creative destruction that is about to happen anyhow.

Re:logic error (4, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 6 years ago | (#24617567)

Correct.
But to sue somebody, they have to know whom.

So what they do in Germany, they send the IP adress of a suppost pirate to the prosecuters, who investigate the matter. While doing this they ask the internet providers for the identity of the person who used that IP address at that time.
In most cases, they stop investigating once they come to the conclusion that no crime was commited.

Now the lawyers of the recording industry get the opportunity to look into the files of the prosecuters, get the information of the suspected pirate and sue him in a civil case.

No logic error (5, Informative)

Timosch (1212482) | about 6 years ago | (#24618115)

Yes, they do (and also their German version), but they need to get the names behind the IP addresses. So they start a criminal trial, ask the police for the IP data, then start their civil law suit and let the criminal case go to hell. That is exactly what this stuff is about. You should have RTFA.

I, for one, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617115)

welcome our German overlords.
Wait, what?

Re:I, for one, (5, Funny)

snoyberg (787126) | about 6 years ago | (#24617309)

France, is that you?

Re:I, for one, (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#24618835)

And to those who think the EU has eliminated the relevance of that comment, why hasn't France cut down all the trees on the Champs Elysees?

It's OK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617141)

Nothing was really done about the Germans killing all those Jews, so why should they care about minor theft?

Re:It's OK (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | about 6 years ago | (#24617733)

I suppose next you're going to tell me that Hitler lives?

Re:It's OK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617867)

Mein furor will rise again?

Re:It's OK (4, Funny)

Miseph (979059) | about 6 years ago | (#24617893)

Yeah, when we shot or hanged all of the leaders, took all of the money from the banks, looted the museums and split the entire country in half for almost 50 years it was just a slap on the wrist.

Re:It's OK (-1, Flamebait)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 6 years ago | (#24618141)

You mean the money that belonged to the countries they pillaged? And what about all of the money we funneled back into the country after the war to build them back into the prosperous country they are today? Or I suppose Japan and Germany are still war torn wastelands today...

Signed/Unsigned tags (4, Interesting)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24617149)

What on Earth do those mean? When I click on them, I still don't see any relationship between the articles that've been tagged with them.

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (1)

Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) | about 6 years ago | (#24617187)

My guess - unsigned is for anonymous contributors or people with no email/web address, signed is for submitters who gave an email or website.

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (4, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#24617199)

Articles tagged signed can become negative.

Articles tagged unsigned however, can become twice as positive as signed articles.

Capiche?

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (4, Funny)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24617227)

I'll float you on that.

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (4, Funny)

norminator (784674) | about 6 years ago | (#24617727)

I think the system needs to be fixed.

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (2, Insightful)

znerk (1162519) | about 6 years ago | (#24618399)

I think the system needs to be fixed.

Now that's funny! Too bad most moderators will only hear the "whooshing" as it goes way over their heads...

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24617245)

Ah, that makes sense. I don't code very much, so that didn't immediately come to mind. Thanks!

Re:Signed/Unsigned tags (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24617983)

That doesn't explain articles tagged both 'signed' and 'unsigned'. If they're tagged as both, does that mean Slashdot aborts with a compiler error?

First they came (0)

RockMFR (1022315) | about 6 years ago | (#24617217)

They came first for those who downloaded 3000 songs,
and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 1000 songs,
and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 100 songs,
and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 1 song,
and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Re:First they came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617261)

Here I am thinking... Jeez, I need to find 1,287 more songs so I can hit the big time.

Re:First they came (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24617553)

OTOH, it doesn't really take much to be up to 200 "movies".

A nice long running single TV series will get you to that point.

My current total is up to about 2200.

Re:First they came (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#24617965)

OTOH, it doesn't really take much to be up to 200 "movies".

No, but I doubt you can effectively actually send 200 movies concurrently. With a small minimum of effort each could keep say 150 "archive" vids and 30-40 "hot" vids shared which would let 30 people share 2200 vids with redunancy (2/movie) without anyone breaking any limits. Now instead take an actual hub of hundreds or thousands of people and 200 movies/person is practically no limit at all.

Re:First they came (2, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 6 years ago | (#24618289)

I guess German broadband speeds aren't as good as those in Japan or Finland [slashdot.org] .

At 60Mbps, you could keep 200 torrents running at better than 30KB/sec. That's only 7 hours to download a 2-hour movie at the normal size that most people use with MPEG-4 compression.

Re:First they came (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24617277)

s/downloaded/shared

come on people, its about distributing, not obtaining, it's ALWAYS about sharing, NEVER about downloading. STOP SPREADING THEIR FUD FOR THEM! [/rant]

downloading is distributing (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 years ago | (#24617663)

come on people, its about distributing, not obtaining, it's ALWAYS about sharing, NEVER about downloading.

If you're going to rant at least make it technically accurate. With torrent clients, almost always when downloading you are also sharing. They are in fact realistically equivalent for 99% of file sharers.

There's enough other FUD you don't have to be inaccurate.

Re:downloading is distributing (1)

norminator (784674) | about 6 years ago | (#24617801)

But if you're not sharing everything at once, then they're not going to see you sharing that many unless they watch you for an extended period of time. I doubt that most people who share over 200 movies are sharing them all out at once. But then I have extremely limited experience with torrenting videos, so maybe that is how people do it.

Re:First they came (0, Flamebait)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | about 6 years ago | (#24617427)

How is that relevant? The entire premise of the article is that the number of songs or movies stolen to warrant legal consequences has dramatically increased.

Re:First they came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617789)

Stolen is the wrong word. Illegally copied is more accurate.

Re:First they came (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | about 6 years ago | (#24617971)

Taken from office space - changed slightly for my point.

JOANNA
So you're stealing.

JOANNA
Ok. So you're gonna *get a lot of movies*, right?

AC
Yeah.

JOANNA
Ok. That's not yours?

AC
Well, it, it becomes ours.

JOANNA
How's that not stealing?

Re:First they came (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 6 years ago | (#24617705)

Maybe now they will concentrate on more worrying and damaging crimes of house breakers, muggers, and illegal immigration (incl. people trafficking).

Re:First they came (2, Insightful)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 6 years ago | (#24618305)

They came first for those who downloaded 3000 songs, and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 1000 songs, and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 100 songs, and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for those who downloaded 1 song, and I didn't speak up because I didn't download any.

Then they came for me,

And everyone complained because I stopped seeding the torrents

Re:First they came (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#24618321)

Yeah.... copyright infringement really doesn't fit the model of a quote about genocide that well. Especially when they seem to be moving in a direction of MORE lenience.

"In return" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617251)

Beginning next month, copyright holders can just ask ISPs directly for the address of filesharers, so they don't need the public prosecutor anymore. Until then, having the public prosecutor investigate copyright infringement was the only way to get the name and address of the filesharer. No case was actually pursued. It was always just a vehicle to get the necessary information for a civil suit (actually just a way to get people to sign cease-and-desist declarations and pay up: The civil suit also rarely goes to court).

Re:"In return" (4, Informative)

Wdi (142463) | about 6 years ago | (#24618091)

Mod parent up. This is the only relevant post so far.

There will be a new law which gives copyright holders the tools to request infringer user data directly from ISPs which are required to store it for some time. Before that, it was not possible to get this data without a criminal warrant due to personal data protection laws, and so an enormous case load resulted for the public prosecutors. They do not want to play along any longer for smaller cases where no criminal trial will ultimately result. Copyright holders are of course still eligible for compensation by infringers by means of a civil suit. This whole process has just been streamlined. That is all. No free passes for anybody.

In other news... (0, Flamebait)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 6 years ago | (#24617267)

In other news, German prosecutors annnounced today that they will only be prosecuting auto thefts when more than 200 are committed, and car break-ins when 3000 are committed. "Our goal is to prevent organized crime", said their spokesperson, "we don't care about the occasional junkie or joy-rider."

Ok, I admit that the above paragraph is a bit down the slippery slope, but the point is that the slope exists. This problem should be solved by the legislative branch, not the executive. If the law is faulty, it should be re-written by the legislature, not kluged by the prosecutors. Otherwise we have unelected officials effectively making the law.

[ Full disclosure: I've never, TTBOMK, either sent or deliberately aquired any copyrighted work without proper consent. On the one occasion in which my copyrighted work was posted without my consent the poster - who had received a version withgout copyright notice attached - happily complied upon the first request. ]

Re:In other news... (3, Insightful)

Sneftel (15416) | about 6 years ago | (#24617355)

Well, sure. Why should taxpayers underwrite their government becoming enforcers for car owners?

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617505)

Full disclosure: I've never, TTBOMK, either sent or deliberately aquired any copyrighted work without proper consent. On the one occasion in which my copyrighted work was posted without my consent the poster - who had received a version withgout copyright notice attached - happily complied upon the first request.

Excellent, so you fall under the RIAA's "Senile Grandmother, Deaf-Mute, and the Unborn" clause. Your subpoena is in the mail.

Re:In other news... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24617543)

Excellent, so you fall under the RIAA's "Senile Grandmother, Deaf-Mute, and the Unborn" clause. Your subpoena is in the mail.

I hear a lot of deaf-mutes pirate MP3s and enjoy the beats which they can feel through the floor. The RIAA has just demanded that Gallaudet University hand over the names of students from IP addresses.

Re:In other news... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 6 years ago | (#24617927)

Full disclosure: I've never, TTBOMK, either sent or deliberately aquired any copyrighted work without proper consent. On the one occasion in which my copyrighted work was posted without my consent the poster - who had received a version withgout copyright notice attached - happily complied upon the first request.

Excellent, so you fall under the RIAA's "Senile Grandmother, Deaf-Mute, and the Unborn" clause. Your subpoena is in the mail.

Why does P so readily make the assumption that to make use of the net, you have to steal intellectual property?
Has it come to the point that for some people the primary purpose of the net is for theft - and if you aren't stealing you therefore must be in some manner disabled or non-fuctioning?

Re:In other news... (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#24618405)

No, he's making a point of the RIAA's tendency to dragnet sue people who don't even own a computer. Not sure if they have tried to due a fetus, but that could be just a matter of time.

Re:In other news... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24617599)

Courts and prosecutors already exercise wide latitude in deciding what to spend their time on.

Re:In other news... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#24617661)

Your argument would actually have merit if there were a private organization (say, the Vehicle Owner's Association of Germany or some such) that was filing suit against thousands upon thousands of individuals with at best flimsy evidence. Furthermore, if numbered among their victims were people that were bedridden, paralyzed, legless or otherwise physically unable to drive a car, and if they continued to pursue those cases when clear evidence was presented that the person in question could not possibly, under any conditions, be the perpetrator then yes, you might have a point.

Court time is a limited resource, and prosectors in Germany are making the point that it shouldn't be spent on hundreds or thousands of frivolous lawsuits. Not all crimes are the same, and some "crimes" have no business in court, particularly when they're only there as part of a multinational private-sector terror campaign having nothing to do with redress of grievance.

The Courts have better things to do.

Re:In other news... (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24617665)

In other news, German prosecutors annnounced today that they will only be prosecuting auto thefts when more than 200 are committed, and car break-ins when 3000 are committed. "Our goal is to prevent organized crime", said their spokesperson, "we don't care about the occasional junkie or joy-rider."

Ok, I admit that the above paragraph is a bit down the slippery slope, but the point is that the slope exists. ...

Do you really think the police can afford to spend ten effective salary-years on every car theft investigation? No. They cannot. So they use artificial (and sometimes arbitrary) means to limit the resources put into each case. But when a 'ring of carjackers' aka: a group of professionals, or 'organized crime', you bet your bippie they pull out all the stops to try and bust it. Their response to the **AA is no further down the slope then they already have to go, as like it or not, their pool of resources is limited.

stupid analogy (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 6 years ago | (#24617673)

You're comparing theft of actual property with making duplicates of intellectual property.

In the former case, you deprive the owner use of said property. In the latter, the owner still has the property.

The slippery slope is actually people like you making stupid analogies about this kind of thing, prompting ever more draconian laws and malicious prosecution.

Re:stupid analogy (0, Troll)

bravecanadian (638315) | about 6 years ago | (#24618573)

In the former case, you deprive the owner use of said property. In the latter, the owner still has the property.

And whenever someone uses this stupid statement I always like to point out that if this was truly the case, why do the geeks get mad when someone takes the code to Linux and uses it in an appliance without posting modified source? Can't have it both ways.. sorry.

In both the case of the car being stolen and the 100 million dollar movie being pirated what is REALLY being stolen is the time and money of the people who made them/owned them. You don't get a free pass just because you can easily make a copy.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617677)

When someone breaks into your house and steals 3000 euros worth of stuff, I doubt they spend any more time than it takes to file the paperwork on it. Unless the guys still there when the police arrive.

I thought the point of having three branches was for each branch to keep the other in check.. You can legislate that you can't spit your gum on the sidewalk, but you can't expect every cop to arrest anyone who does, and you can't expect every one to be taken to court.

Re:In other news... (1)

Hairy Heron (1296923) | about 6 years ago | (#24617731)

Apparently someone has never heard of prosecutorial discretion before. What you're whining about is something that prosecutors do every day and have done for centuries.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617827)

The law is to be enforced under restriction of commensurability. This is not a case of public prosecutors going crazy and not doing what they're supposed to do. Not prosecuting these cases is exactly what they're supposed to do, because the damage does not justify the investigative actions which would be necessary to make a criminal case, especially since the copyright holders immediately declared that they had no interest in further criminal prosecution as soon as they got the information they needed for the extort^W civil lawsuit.

Re:In other news... (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 6 years ago | (#24618225)

Wouldn't it be the judicial branch v. legislative branch, not executive v. legislative? Executive branch has nothing to do with prosecutors, that would be more like the Mayor/Governor/President making the proclamation, not the prosecutor.

Re:In other news... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#24618579)

"In other news, German prosecutors annnounced today that they will only be prosecuting auto thefts when more than 200 are committed, and car break-ins when 3000 are committed. "Our goal is to prevent organized crime", said their spokesperson, "we don't care about the occasional junkie or joy-rider."

Perhaps not in Germany, but I have wondered about the status of all the cars burned in the south of France during the riots a few years ago. It seemed that French policy was that, as long as no one got seriously hurt, property destruction would be overlooked. While the policy seemed to "work" in that everything seemed to go back to normal with not dead French citizens, I can't help but ask what will happen during the *next* riots? How will the authorities react when houses start getting torched, or cars with people in them get burned?

Don't think it will happen? Look up "appeasement" in the encyclopedia.

Re:In other news... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#24618605)

That's nice, but there's a reason why the slippery slope is a fallacy. And this is a pretty good example of why.

Copyright law isn't supposed to be enforced by the government, it's supposed to be enforced by the owner of the rights to the work. The limit to the government's responsibilities is ensuring that the verdict be enforce subject to appeal.

In the case of car break ins or thefts, that's a criminal matter, it's a property crime, and there's a very clear indication of who was hurt. Additionally, there's a risk associated with the behavior to the public at large.

To suggest that the two are in any way shape or form similar is to do a great disservice to legitimate law enforcement efforts.

In other news (-1, Troll)

71thumper (107491) | about 6 years ago | (#24617399)

In other news today, German prosecutors have announced that they only pursue companines that infringe on more than 3000 pieces of open source software, as they have decided they don't with to be the F/OSS's enforcers of the GPL.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617631)

71 thumper forgets that

a) telling people they are using GPL code has so far been the way to fix its use in CSS
b) people are SELLING applications FOR MONEY that include GPL code, NOT SHARING for FREE.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617947)

Pretty bad comparison and I suspect that you got that +3, Insightful only because some moderators wanted to convince themselves that they're not biased and in the process forgot common sense.

Now, if the FSF filed tens of thousands of such lawsuits without any merit at all, it would be quite different but I think we can be fairly sure that every such lawsuit has been posted (along with a dupe) here so it's safe to say that there hasn't been that many of them.

N.B. My reply is to what I believe you tried to say here:

...as they have decided they don't with to be the F/OSS's enforcers of the GPL.

ridiculous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617477)

Why should the government become the music industry's enforcer? Because the music industry is part of the state that pays its taxes and is entitled to the protection of the state's laws. Even if the laws are unpalatable. This is akin to the local sheriff saying he will no longer prosecute muggings where the victim did not go to the hospital. Nothing to be particularly proud of as selective enforcement is one of the major causes of legal systems rotting from the inside.
Selective enforcement encourages legal bloat by allowing bad or unenforceable laws to remain on the books to be trotted out when convenient to those in power, and discourages respect for the system by letting people know they will get away with breaking the law.

Strange question (1)

eebra82 (907996) | about 6 years ago | (#24617519)

Why should taxpayers underwrite their government becoming enforcers for the entertainment industry? Then again, when you see how much politicians are being paid, an answer suggests itself.

Because the entertainment industry claims that laws are broken. Having said that, it's more of a question about what's fair use and what's not.

Re:Strange question (2, Informative)

L Boom (1274024) | about 6 years ago | (#24618057)

It's even trickier: Universal recently argued that there is effectively no such thing as Fair Use [arstechnica.com] and that any use is potentially infringement.

The reason? They want to avoid liability for being sued over frivolous lawsuits. If Fair Use is inherently questionable, then they can sue anyone they want whenever they want without consequence while they stick ordinary people with huge legal fees and no chance of recovering them from the people who dragged them into court in the first place. The whole point, of course, is simple intimidation.

Only in one part of Germany (4, Informative)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 6 years ago | (#24617629)

Germany is a federal state, comprised of multiple independent states with their own governments. According to TFA, this only counts for prosecutors from the Nort-Rhine Westphalia.

Come on. Learn a little something about the rest of the world.

Re:Only in one part of Germany (1)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#24618757)

"Germany is a federal state, comprised of multiple independent states with their own governments. According to TFA, this only counts for prosecutors from the Nort-Rhine Westphalia.

Come on. Learn a little something about the rest of the world."

Why? Almost every foreign poster on this site refers to the US Government as if it were monolithic and parliamentarian in form, totally missing the federal form of government and the independence of the executive and the legislature.

How many times have we heard that the US system of voting is so fucked up, and why can't we just use a piece of paper like everyone else. Perhaps because we elect executive, legislature, and sometimes even judicial at the federal, state, county, and city/township level, not to mention ballot initiatives, bond measures, and the like.

Oh, I forgot - in the US we not only do things different, it is always inferior to however [insert European country] does it.

Rant off - I need to get back to rigging elections and waterboarding pot dealers.

Anti-equivocation and conflation post (4, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 6 years ago | (#24617675)

I've already seen it:
This is akin to the local sheriff saying he will no longer prosecute muggings where the victim did not go to the hospital.

This equivocations seem to say that these people want *all* the laws enforced without any regard to a prioritizing by benefit to society.

The key they mentioned was "criminal law for monetary GAIN."

They are right in refusing to criminally prosecute citizens where no appreciable harm was incurred for the monetary enrichment of a single party. Its like watching a car speeding a little but otherwise safely and *NOT* pulling them over and giving them a ticket.

There isn't a single country in the world in which you would want all the laws enforced consistently.

Interview with the district attorney (2, Informative)

nkuttler (601259) | about 6 years ago | (#24617701)

part 1 [google.com] and part 2 [google.com] . Beware, google translation ahead.

Mod Parent up (1)

lazycam (1007621) | about 6 years ago | (#24618217)

Suprisingly informative for a German translation.

According to link, Obama got $4.7mil in '08. DRM! (0, Offtopic)

exabrial (818005) | about 6 years ago | (#24617729)

sweet he supports DRM as well

Good and bad! (1)

FireStormZ (1315639) | about 6 years ago | (#24617741)

Its good to not be the errand boy of thr RIAA and others but 3K songs seems a might high..

How many of you thought that now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24617743)

the pirates will just have a bunch of folks doing the infringements, each staying below the thresholds and thereby not having to worry about prosecution in Germany? That's assuming it would be worth it to break up the 'transactions' that way.

This must be what JFK was talking about (2, Funny)

Moleculo (1321509) | about 6 years ago | (#24617977)

Ich bin ein Berliner. Or, at least my IP is.

Summary of TFA's source (5, Informative)

stsp (979375) | about 6 years ago | (#24618011)

English summary of TFA's source [sueddeutsche.de] , an interview with chief prosecutor of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia [wikipedia.org] for all ye non-German speakers here:
  • He is saying that they primarily want to focus their resources on prosecuting copyright violations which have a commercial background.
  • They consider 3.000 illegally shared audio files and 200 illegally shared movie files lower bounds for commercial background, respectively.
  • He is saying that they derived these numbers from the assumption that, on average, an audio file was worth 1 euro, and a movie file was worth 15 euro, resulting in commercial damages of 3.000 euro each.
  • He's saying that, inspite of this, illegally sharing copyrighted material is still illegal.
  • Furthermore, he states that in his jurisdiction (the biggest one of three total in North-Rhine Westphalia), there were around 25.000 cases related to copyright infringement filed in court within the first half of 2008.
  • He is saying that in his experience, most of these cases get filed to get at the identity of people behind IP addresses in order to sue them for damages.
  • He's saying that network operators charge the prosecutors (that's him) 17 euro per hour for matching up IP addresses to people. They can do this according to German law.
  • He also states that all these cases add considerable overhead to their day-to-day operations because they are binding a lot of their resources.
  • While he's saying that copyright infringement is to be considered a criminal act, he also says that it is a lesser criminal act than others.
  • The interviewer compares filesharing to consuming Cannabis, which the interviewer says is being treated similarly. The interviewer says that both copyright infringement and consuming Cannabis were primarily done by younger people.
  • The chief ackknowledges the interviewer's remark that both of these are primarily done by younger people. He says that juvenile behaviour should not be criminalised in each and every case, and that focusing their entire resources on such cases was out of proportion.

I'm safe! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#24618021)

My hard disk doesn't hold that much....!

Re:I'm safe! (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 6 years ago | (#24618705)

Soviet General: "My troops get 2000 calories of food every day!"

American General: "My troops get 4000 calories of food every day!"

Soviet General: "Nonsense! Nobody can eat that much of potatoes!"

Soviet General: "My troops have 200GB of films!"

American General: "My troops have 400GB of films!"

Soviet General: "Nonsense! Nobody can wank that much!"

Welcome to the collective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24618033)

How long before we see net communities where everyone shares 2,999 songs and 199 movies? 10 people in the community can cover 29,990 distinct songs and 1,990 distinct movies. That is quite a huge library. If the number of members is large enough, they may even have enough people to build redundancy in their collective library to protect against potential problems like HD crash.

Re:Welcome to the collective (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | about 6 years ago | (#24618489)

How long before we see net communities where everyone shares 2,999 songs and 199 movies?

Well, considering the article is only about one state in Germany, I wouldn't expect that any time soon. Also, once people started doing that in an organized fashion, the prosecutors would probably go after them anyway, since the damage would be above the threshold.

Common practice in germany (1)

SeppMosh (518561) | about 6 years ago | (#24618161)

It is common practice in germany not to persecute almost every petty crime like, let's say, shoplifting or the possesion of minor amounts of narcotics if it is a first-time offense. Depending on the scale of the offense either nothing will happen (you will receive a note the case was dropped cause of insignificane) or you will be slapped with a fine and a warning - the case will only go to court if you don't accept the fine and warning.
This a) keeps the number of people with a criminal record low and b) takes workload off the courts.

If you don't follow the GVU's (german RIAA) calculations, but keep in mind how much of a DVD's price actually is a copyright holder's profit, downloading a movie is more in the league of stealing a candy bar than a car, and that's even ignoring evidence that downloaders are more likely to go to the movies or buy CDs than non-downloading Joe Does, so treating a downloader like a shoplifter makes sense to me.

Additionally, the headline is misleading: The reported is only true for one state of germany - saying "sharing... is safe in germany" is like saying whatever Texan legislation would be valid in the whole U.S.

mistake, or different legal system? (0, Redundant)

bcrowell (177657) | about 6 years ago | (#24618173)

Prosecutors in a German state have announced they will refuse to entertain the majority of file-sharing lawsuits in future

In the U.S., copyright infringement is a civil matter, not a criminal one, although I think that may be different in Europe...? But what really doesn't make sense to me is the reference to "prosecutors" vis a vis "lawsuits." In a lawsuit, there isn't any prosecutor, is there?

My guess is that it is criminal in Germany rather than civil, and that the word "lawsuits" is incorrect. If that's the case, then where's the news here? Of course police and prosecutors aren't going to spend time going after small-time file sharers. Same deal in the US with small-time white-collar crime. Hell, cops in the US typically won't even do much about the theft of a laptop or a ten-speed bike, even if it's theoretically grand larceny. It's just a matter of resources. They're more concerned with violent crime.

Contributions to RIAA/MPAA (2, Informative)

h8sg8s (559966) | about 6 years ago | (#24618181)

Amazing that the RIAA/MPAA don't "own" more of the laws in the US with their contribution record. Democrats: $11,163,030 Republicans: $2,104,737 I had always assumed the "Law and Order" party (Republicans) would be the major force and benefactor of the industry. I'm going to have to re-think my support based on these numbers. Five to one contribution rate over the GOP is a pretty telling statistic against the Democrats..

Some things need to be corrected. (1)

burni (930725) | about 6 years ago | (#24618275)

"most" german attorneys came to the "understanding" that they would follow those guidelines, because they want to stop
being abused.

No attorney is bound to this understanding, so there is no safe haven.

Some attorneys in germany are/were very vivid on supporting the entertainment industry. Most attorneys got tired of being abused as simple information providers, because the attorneys mostly setteled the criminal cases with a fine and no judgement or really no judgement.

This was because there was nearly no public interest in pursuing the cases, they just made it for their personal fun and not
within a gang, or simply that prosecutors would have needed to gather more information by raiding the peoples homes, and in germany a judge issues a search warrant mostly because of hard evidence - which a log isn't really.

Lately there was a case linked to "child porn thumbnails within a number of normal porn thumbs" one person who was searched
because of log entries. This guy attacked the search warrant later and the other judge decided that the search warrant was unlawfull the judge ordered that the police had to give the computer back - unsearched.

"gang - organized crime"

I must also issue a warning because if this filesharing is combined with an organization than most prosecutors will
investigate the case further, for example a piratebay.org can be seen as a criminal organization, because in germany
a link to copyrighted material is seen as copyright infrigenment.

"What happens in germany ?"

In germany when the entertainment industry got to know the identity of the filesharer, the industrys lawyer would issue a notice
to them, a bill and an aggreement.

the notice & the bill:
- you pay the lawyer (~500 €)
- you pay restitution ( just restitute the real value)

the aggreement:
- you aggree to stop distributing the copyright holders material
- in case of a breach you aggree to pay a fine round about 25.000 €

If you not accept this, the case can/will get to civil court, most people in germany as in the US pay
so this won't happend.

But the key point is that in a civil case guilt must be proven too, and the provableness of an IP + Identity must be questioned.
At the moment I don't know any case where this was tried, nor any civil case except those
based on commerical scale cases(further evidence through a raid etc.. ).

Re:Some things need to be corrected. (1)

burni (930725) | about 6 years ago | (#24618385)

€ is EURO sorry.

Uh.. (1)

damuhatori (1203278) | about 6 years ago | (#24618425)

So if someone were to start a file sharing site, it could still be popular, but only have a retention of 2999 audio and 299 video files. This would be much like most usenet services, instead of days it is number of files. Where's the problem? Would number of users or traffic be considered?
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