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Germany Accepts Strict Piracy Law

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the slap-on-the-wrist-that-takes-the-whole-hand dept.

478

A beautiful mind writes "The TimesOnline is reporting that Germany has accepted a new piracy law, currently the toughest in Europe, which comes into effect on January 1, 2007. From the article: 'Germans risk two years in prison if they illegally download films and music for private use under a new law agreed yesterday. Anybody who downloads films for commercial use could be jailed for up to five years.' Many politicians defended the new law, amongst them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: 'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'"

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AAAaaarrrghh! (-1, Troll)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994540)

Those be some hard cocoanuts, Matey!

Re:AAAaaarrrghh! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994549)

In Chermany, films pirate YOU!

Re:AAAaaarrrghh! (2, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994562)

Last time I went to the box office, I wouldn't call it "piracy". Somewhere between fraud, misrepresentation and highway robbery.

Why would I "pirate" something, you couldn't PAY me to see!

Re:AAAaaarrrghh! (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994689)

Why would I "pirate" something, you couldn't PAY me to see!

That's the whole problem - people feel that a lot of the stuff out there isn't worth the asking price. The "asking price", for a couple, is a LOT more than the ticket price ... and it doesn't help that the theatres don't make any money on the screening itself, so they have to gouge on the food concessions.

Lower the price to $5 a head, give half to the theatre so they can charge reasonable prices for eats, and make it up in volume. So Jim Carey won't get $20 million for his next movie unless its really good. The solution to THAT problem is obvious - make better movies.

well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994542)

From the Fine Article:

GERMANS risk two years in prison if they illegally download films and music for private use under a new law agreed yesterday.

Also from the Fine Article:

Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, said: There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download

So, you can get two years in prison in Germany for stealing chewing gum from a shop? Cool.

This is all rehashing rehashes, but it bears repetition lest we find ourselves slowly and finally boiled in this slowly heating water. It's more heavy-handed power and money grabbing by those who have the money and power (entertainment droids and politicians). I only hope one of the first "caught" with their hands in the downloading cookiejar is some son or daughter of one of the anointed government members. Also from the article (emphasis mine):

The German music industry also claims to be suffering from piracy. The recording industry suffered a fall in turnover in 2005 for the seventh year in a row to 1.7 billion (1.2 billion). Sales have fallen almost 45 per cent since 1998. The German branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates that the equivalent of 439 million music CDs were copied illegally in Germany last year.

First of all, what supports their estimates? Secondly, I've still yet to see causal studies whereby there are directly related losses because of illegal downloads. I have seen some convincing studies showing strong correlation between downloading and sales.

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (5, Insightful)

commander_gallium (906728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994585)

How much does it cost to keep someone jailed for two years? I'd imagine it costs more than a DVD does.

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994728)

How much does it cost to kill someone? If someone wants to do it it costs nothing.

Still, those people who do murder someone should be jailed and it costs a lot of money. Thus, cost can't be a factor in prison sentences. If not cost, then what?

Justice. It is why this law in Germany is so bad - because it is not just.

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994595)

Why not go all they way? Death for stealing food to feed the family.

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994697)

Even better. Deportation to Australia, where all pornography will be filtered from the Internet. The horror!

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994708)

It's been said before, but if you're going to steal, create a company first and make sure to steal millions so you don't get punished. You think anybody served jail time when the music industry was convicted of price fixing? Of course not. You think anybody from Sony will serve jailtime under hacking laws for the rootkit fiasco? Of course not, unthinkable.

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (3, Interesting)

zenthax (737879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994729)

First of all, what supports their estimates? Secondly, I've still yet to see causal studies whereby there are directly related losses because of illegal downloads. I have seen some convincing studies showing strong correlation between downloading and sales.
Of course they have because the keyword there is losses. Companies do not experience losses by piracy, meaning it doesn't actually cost them anything. Rather piracy deprives them of potential revenue, meaning all this discussing of losing money to piracy is all dependent on a theoretical situation where a person would buy it. Basically if you were to steal a stick of gum, that becomes a loss for the store/company/etc. Because essentially at the end of the year they have to deduct the cost they paid for the gum from their total earning. It would be a big fat red minus on they finances. Where as piracy means that companies aren't able to generate MORE revenue, meaning instead of taking actual losses, they just don't get to make more money. Basically they don't get to add nice black pluses to their finances. Now the losses all these IP companies talk about are NOT the red minuses but the black pluses they MIGHT have gotten. It basically being upset that not enough people decided to buy your product, and then whining to the government to make people buy it. Reminds me a bit of auto insurance here in the States.(Yes I know there are good reason for getting auto insurance)

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994739)

So, you can get two years in prison in Germany for stealing chewing gum from a shop? Cool.

If you are on probation.

Piracy: max. 2 years
Rape: max. 5 years

Obviously, women are now worth twice as much as DVDs.

Like in most countries, charges are dropped by the state attorney if it's a small offense (shoplifting of small items) ... or so I heard ... not that it has happened to me ... well, honestly not!

Re:well, if that's what you do to gum thieves (2, Interesting)

kz45 (175825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994740)

Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, said: There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download

copyright infringement is not like stealing an item from a store. It's closer to counterfeiting money. As more and more infringe on a person or company owned copyrighted work, it is devalued over time (less and less people will be willing to pay for it when they can just get it for free from their friend or favorite website). In a sense, copyright infringement does cost a company money..but over a very long period of time.

I have seen stats from a few mISV owners that I know personally. You can clearly see a pattern when a crack gets released for their application. Sales almost immediately drop (I have seen as much as 75%) and bandwidth is wasted (another side-effect of piracy).

When an update is made, and the cracks no longer work, sales gradually go back up.

2 years in prison for sharing is too much. I don't think the germans should be filling their jails with people sharing copyrighted material.

I have seen some convincing studies showing strong correlation between downloading and sales

When downloading is made easy, and a non-tech savvy user can easily get a song, sales are directly affected. If it stays in the background (like in the IRC days), the loss is a lot smaller. I feel that the RIAA has won the battle. Most of my friends are too afraid to download music anymore (even through there are many P2P networks still alive and well).

Wow (4, Insightful)

Andy Gardner (850877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994544)

That's just crazy, two years!? You wouldn't get that if you went out and stole the DVD itself.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994579)

and thats the great part about it.

It just shows how ineffective and out of context the lobbied laws are.

real street crime hurts society, wheras "pirating" is more or less socially acceptable. (at least alot more than shoplifting)

Re:Wow (1, Funny)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994589)

If it was 'socially acceptable', a wide majority of the ELECTED government in Germany would not have supported it.

Besides, 'socially acceptable' is coward language to try and demure the difference between right/progress and wrong/destructiveness.

Get a job, hippie.

Re:Wow (1, Troll)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994639)

pal, have you seen that election you are talking about? it was a farce!

Re:Wow (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994649)

It was wierd and an example of the failure of the parlimentarian system. But other than that.... Ok, so if you are right and the election was a farce, then outlawing stealing music is the least of your problems.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994669)

Dude.., you're fucking retarded. Go jump off a cliff.

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

BungoMan85 (681447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994701)

It IS socially acceptable. But when you have the recording industry lobbying the politicians for laws like this what is and isn't socially acceptable no longer matters.

Re:Wow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994710)

If it was 'socially acceptable', a wide majority of the ELECTED government in Germany would not have supported it.

Non-sequitur. Yes the government is elected by the people, but that doesn't mean that every decision they make is a direct representation of the social/ethical norms of the people. Far from it. The purpose of a democratically-elected representative is to balance the desires of the people with reasonable pragmatic requirements of economics, international treaties, etc. Then, of course, there are also instances where the actions of democratically-elected representatives are very obviously against the (average) will of the people, but serve some special-interest group or lobby (such decisions can be 'good', e.g. protection for minorities, or 'bad', e.g. laws that benefit companies to the detriment of the people).

I think it is actually quite obvious that the average person considers illegal copyright violations to be a very minor offense as comapred to outright theft of physical property. I would go so far as to say that, yes, copyright violation is fully "socially accepted." That it is a governmentally-decreed crime in no way proves that the people are morally against the activity.

Besides, 'socially acceptable' is coward language to try and demure the difference between right/progress and wrong/destructiveness.

No, it is a statement of fact. I personally would love to see a balanced independant study that determines how people feel about copyright-violation in all its forms. I strongly suspect that it would find that the overwhelming majority of the population consider it to be a minor offense, and a minor problem. In fact, I believe the percent of people strongly opposed to copyright is actually greater than the percent of people that strongly support it (with the majority of the popullation falling in between, with little opinion either way, but certainly not demonizing copyright violators).

That copyright is the "right" path and filesharers are the "bad guys" is precisely what is being debated, whereas you take it as an axiom.

Get a job, hippie.

Thanks for taking the debate up a notch.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994634)

the threat of jail will make that $5-10k payment to the entertainment industry much easier to extract from you. it is a game... and the powerful know how to play it.

so do the not so powerful, but nobody cares about them.

Re:Wow (1)

Muchacho_Gasolino (868337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994667)

UP to two years. Big difference.

Re:Wow (1)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994696)

I guess the **AA marketingspeak is really catching on:

"There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download."

Well... (1)

dark404 (714846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994545)

Doesn't that blow... bubbles...

Two years for stealing gum? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994547)

I find it hard to believe that German law allows two years' imprisonment for stealing a packet of chewing gum.

Re:Two years for stealing gum? (2, Informative)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994572)

As far as I recall, the law is that theft is punishable with imprisonment of up to two years. But to actually get that, you'd have to steal designer chewing gum sprinkled with diamonds and go about it professionally. For normal chewing gum, you'll pay a fee unless you're a repeat offender.

Re:Two years for stealing gum? (3, Informative)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994608)

Actually, theft can get you up to five years [dejure.org] . But yes, anyone who steals some chewing gum (a regular amount, that is - not an entire truckload) won't get a prison sentence, much less one of two years (and if you did, you could fight the verdict as being not appropriate for the offense). In fact, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't even get a trial - it's just not worth it.

Not chewing gum (1, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994606)

He meant gum crater [wikipedia.org] , a crater on the moon. The German laws for theft of celestial objects are pretty harsh.

Paging Mike Godwin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994552)

You're wanted at Slashdot. Stat.

Re:Paging Mike Godwin. (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994586)

You know, by invoking Godwin's Law, you're fulfilling it?

If you mention the law, which mentions Hitler, you mention Hitler.

Re:Paging Mike Godwin. (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994626)

Meta-"Godwinning." :-)

Privacy (2, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994553)

Darn. For a moment, I read that as "Germany accepts strict privacy law" and said "cool, some good news for a change"...

Re:Privacy (1)

creysoft (856713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994580)

That's what I thought. Then I read about two years for illegally downloading films or music, and thought, "Wait a minute... this doesn't have anything to do with privacy!" Then I read the whole summary and cried.

This is not justice (2, Interesting)

darjen (879890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994554)

This is undoubtedly a sad day for justice and liberty in Germany. It's the kind of abuse we generally get when one group of thieves becomes the sole provider of necessary goods and services to the people.

Correction (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994573)

That would be 'rich, monopolistic thieves'.

And dont be suprsied if we dont get those laws here in the US, or worse... Remember the WTO? They will mandate all other members follow suit.

Re:This is not justice (3, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994574)

Once all the Germans were war-like, and mean
But that couldn't happen again;
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

Re:This is not justice (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994594)

Apart from the 1939 - 1945 period of course.

Re:This is not justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994731)

Hint: before pointing out the bleedingly obvious, consider that the comment you are replying to might just have been a joke. The GP is quoting a Tom Lehrer song, and it's not even one of his subtler pieces.

Re:This is not justice (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994624)

Okay, so here's what I would like explained from your comment:

Is entertainment a necessary good and/or service in your mind?

Is this 'group of thieves' (who produces and sells entertainment, that apparently you believe is a necessity) morally worse than people who infringe upon their rights? Is this infringement done in the name of good in your mind?

What is just about taking the results of someone's hard labor and giving them nothing in return for it?

I anxiously await your answers.

Re:This is not justice (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994656)

What is just about taking the results of someone's hard labor and giving them nothing in return for it?

i agree completely, recording contracts have become quite unconcionable, artists earning MILLIONS for their owners *ahem* labels ending up with little or nothing at the end, and not because they blew it on coke and hookers.

woah.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994556)

Where are we going to put 45 million expatriot germans?

Re:woah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994577)

Probably the same place where we are going to put the ~244 million expatriot Americans and a good portion of Australia as well.

VW Commercials (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994561)

I just wish they'd give someone 2 years in prison for those stupid VW commercials.

geez looweez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994567)

"There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download."

Wow, you can get 2 years in jail for stealing chewing gum in Germany? They must have one hell of a chewing gum lobby over there.

Evidently the law does distinguish (0, Flamebait)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994581)

I seriously doubt that anyone in German has been imprisoned for two years for taking a stick of chewing gum from a shop. Well, unless they were in a politically despised class such as Jews or Historians.

YOU HAVE BEEN MODERATED FOR YOUR INFRACTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994685)

How dare you mention actual history in a Slashdot post? And historians, no less! Hopefully that moderator will teach you a lesson.

no legal distinction (4, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994587)

Except for the reality of the situation that one is theft and one isnt..

Must be nice to have enough power to go buy your own laws when you feel like it.

Re:no legal distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994703)

Must be nice to have enough power to go buy your own laws when you feel like it.

That's an unforgivable slur against the Governments of the world. The MPAA can't just buy laws whenever they feel like it. They only get one law per country every couple of years. Politicians aren't as cheap as people like to think.

2 years for gum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994598)

Two years in jail for a shoplifting a stick of chewing gum? I'd hate to live in Germany. Why, here in the US you wouldn't even get 2 years if you stole the physical DVD from a store. What ever happened to the punishment fitting the crime?

Re:2 years for gum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994641)

Why, here in the US you wouldn't even get 2 years if you stole the physical DVD from a store.

if you're white

Prohibition? (2, Insightful)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994599)

It seems like an unenforcable law. They are going to have to put 1 out of every 5 people in jail for 2 years, and that's not going to fly.

If you overstep your bounds against the populace, you'll find that, while they might stretch at first, they will soon 'spring back' and you'll find yourself in a worse position than before.

Re:Prohibition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994699)

That's not the intent of the law.
If I understand correctly, it's not legal to issue a search warrant for someones home unless the penalty of the crime is 2 years in prison or more. So with this new law, the threat and intimidate business model works again.

The Rock and the Hard Place (1)

7of7 (956694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994601)

It seems that piracy is an intricate topic. I have to agree in some part with the software and music companies who want harsh punishments for piracy because they have legitimate gripes. There are people who would claim that the music/software/movie industries have flawed business models and that's the reason for piracy. While the inordinate cost of some of a new album or game is really disturbing, I think many people who pirate these products do so not because the price is too high, but because they'd just rather not spend the money if they don't have to. They're basically kleptomaniacs. Germany went way overboard with the two years in prison thing, but there needs to be some form of punishment for people who deprive software developers of the free market values of their products. Then there's that intricacy again. It may be that the "free market" isn't free at all because the software vendors/RIAA have such a dominance on the market that they can afford to charge crazy amounts of money. So where is the balance between giving people the money they deserve for their creations while making sure they don't dominate the market in such a way as to stifle innovation?

Same as stealing chewing gum? (4, Interesting)

corngrower (738661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994604)

... them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: 'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'"

I'm sorry, but I just don't think they're quite the same. An illegal download doesn't prevent the 'owner' from benefiting from the origninal. Whereas when you steal a physical object, it does. If I steal a loaf of bread from you, you no longer have that loaf of bread to eat. If I copy the recipie for making that bread without your permission, it does you no harm (unless, possibly, you're the proprieter of a bakery.) I'm not claiming that illegal downloads are morally ok, just that its not quite the same thing as stealing a physical object.

Re:Same as stealing chewing gum? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994628)

He didn't say they are the same, he said that there should be no legal distinction.

Re:Same as stealing chewing gum? (1)

Hikaru79 (832891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994630)

f I steal a loaf of bread from you, you no longer have that loaf of bread to eat. If I copy the recipie for making that bread without your permission, it does you no harm (unless, possibly, you're the proprieter of a bakery.)

But ... the entertainment companies ARE the "bakery" in your example. It is (at least in their minds) harming them.

Re:Same as stealing chewing gum? (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994744)

No, the artists are the bakery. The record labels/associations are the groceries that stock and sell the bakery's products.

Re:Same as stealing chewing gum? (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994680)

You're right. Illegal downloads are more like sneaking into a movie theater or stowing aboard a ship. (Not exactly like, because by sneaking into a movie theater or a ship one is increasing congestion and making the experience worse for others; by stowing aboard a ship, one is slightly increasing fuel consumption.) IANAL, but my understanding is that in the U.S. there is a distinction between "crimes of moral turpitude" and other crimes. (The main use of the distinction is that those who have committed crimes of moral turpitude are generally banned from permanent residency in the U.S., even if they have never been convincted of them.) Stowing away is not considered a crime of moral turpitude, but theft, however small the amount (I think one case involved two city bus transfers!), is.

That doesn't make sneaking into a movie theater or illegally downloading movies right. Workers are owed compensation, and in both cases one is benefiting from the work of others without compensating them.

Re:Same as stealing chewing gum? (1)

Mo6eB (832959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994681)

You are absolutely right. When one steals gum from a shop, he is stealing. When he is downloading files illegally, he is infringing copyright. The two are quite different from one another, no matter what the industry tells you.

Actually, it's not true - yet (4, Informative)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994607)

This is not a law yet - it's a proposal that the cabinet agreed on. It will only become law if it finds a majority in parliament, which may or may not happen, but it hasn't been voted on yet and Germany is still enough of a democracy to wait for that to happen ;)

Re:Actually, it's not true - yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994636)

are you sure it's not a law yet? ,the article specifically says germany ACCEPTED,not considered but ACCEPTED.

Re:Actually, it's not true - yet (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994714)

I have found no german source reporting about any accepted law.
A copyright reform is currentlys in discussion, but I am pretty sure it has not yet been voted on
in fact this article with todays date says the reform is not yet throught the parliament:
http://www.taz.de/pt/2006/03/25/a0113.1/text [www.taz.de]

Re:Actually, it's not true - yet (2, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994718)

Doesn't Germany have a grand coalition right now, though, which controls some 75% or so of the seats in parliament? *If* this is indeed pushed to parliament, I'm not sure I see how it'd fail - even with all the opposition parties voting against it, and even with a couple of defectors, there'd still be a rather large majority.

Or am I missing something?

Re:Actually, it's not true - yet (1)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994736)

You are missing the fact that members of parliament don't necessarily agree with what the government comes up with. Especially on issues like that, the vote in parliament can be very different from what the parties officially agree on - the French just had a little crisis in their parliament a couple of weeks ago where exactly that almost happened when they were discussing their new copyright law.

Just pray you arent Jewish too! (-1, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994609)

(rim shot)

Seriously... is this thing on?

Wakka Wakka.

Ok.. really this is dumb. Its a bad law. And on a side note.. I recommend Downloading Illegally... the movie "WHY WE FIGHT" (The new one from 2006)

Its an incredible film.

phew (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994610)


Good thing I'm in .ca or I'd be in the can until the sun goes red giant.

It's mindboggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994611)

Unbelievable. What ever happened to justice? Whatever happened to the principle "the punishment should fit the crime"?

Other crimes? (1)

shish (588640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994612)

There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.

While they're at it, can they make breaking into a server the same as breaking into an office? While breaking copyright seems to have been ignored compared to other petty crimes, all the other digital offenses seem to carry far harsher punishments than their real life equivalents :-/

No difference between stealing gum and piracy? (1)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994614)

The difference is that the shopkeeper might sue you, while the one you download from won't ever sue you (I assume; since he offered the file in the first place).

This entire law is about unaffected third parties being able to sue it seems.

Whoa! Germans Are Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994629)

Holy Crap! Read the second-to-last paragraph:

"Many Germans watch the latest Hollywood film at home before it has reached the cinemas; parents' evenings sometimes end with a showing of an illegally copied film in the school gym."

Public showings in the school? Bad-ass.

WWIII Soon? (2, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994631)

Compare this to France trying to legalize P2P via an 8E/mo tax and it looks like it's about time to get out of Europe.

germany's copyright laws have been privatized (4, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994644)

Germany's is the first government that has officially conceded to all lobbyism efforts on behalf of the industry and adopted a policy that supports the industry's demands fully while completely disregarding the rights and needs of its citizen.

Many people believe that this is due to corruption, it can no longer be attributed to "goodwill" towards the industry and stupidity alone. In any case, it goes way beyond being irresponsible and neglecting the government's duty to take care of its citizens and the long-term effect of this will be civil disobedience and loss of respect for laws in general.

Seig Heil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994646)

nt

This is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994652)

This is a proposed law which has not been passed yet, and will not get passed for a few more months.

Thomas

That is outrageous! (3, Insightful)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994655)

Most popular music out today isn't even worth a stick of chewing gum!

Mission Impossible (4, Interesting)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994662)

Facts;

1. It's incredibly easy to copy digital media.
2. It's done privately.
3. It harms no one directly and immediately.

No law in the world will stop this people downloading digital media, unless the power of the police is extended to the point that the download behaviour of every individual is monitored.

Unfortunately and utterly unbeliveably and to my utter, inexpressible disgust and revulsion, the law has in fact taken that step, with the new European Data Retention Act.

Welcome to the Police State.

Intimidatory law (1)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994666)

  • How is your average German policeman going to know if the download is 'with permission' or 'without permission' ?
  • What does your average German taxpaer think, if he or she is asked to foot the bill for two years' jail time for someone 'downloading without permission'.

    It will be Sony, or Disney, or AOL-TimeWarner, who can grant or deny permission; and they will not be footing the bill for the jail time.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of evidence of permission is acceptable, and what happens if someone turns out to be falsely accused of this 'crime'

    I am very glad the Germans have strict privacy laws; so that even if you know the IP address the DVD went to, you will not be able to find out who is paying the bill for the access.

Consumers have the power... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994668)

...to not buy or steal....

Where whould that put the movie industry?

Need movie entertainment? look for used tapes and dvds that you don't pay the industry for.

Two years !?!?!?! (1)

jjh37997 (456473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994674)

Many politicians defended the new law, amongst them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: "There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download".

Does that mean in Germany you can be sent to prison for two years for stealing a pack of gum? Now I understand how they managed to start two world wars. Yikes!

Does Germany have enough prison space (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994682)

For half of its adult population? If not you can send them to the USA we are encroaching upon 10% incarcerated in some demographics.

Re:Does Germany have enough prison space (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994751)

in some demographics

Namely, young black males. The overall prison population is the US is somewhere over 2 million, which is a disturbingly high number, but we certainly don't have any room for german prisoners. There is a severe overcrowding problem in most state prisons as it is, despite the booming prison industry. It is not likely to get any better either, seeing as Americans haven't lost their zeal for punishment. Nothing seems to get a few easy votes for a politician like calling for longer prison terms for some crime or another (and there is no end in sight in the "war" on drugs).

Criminalizing _down_loading (1)

Homo Stannous (756539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994687)

I don't speak German and I don't know German law, but it seems to me that the crucial change behind this plan is that downloading will be criminalized. In the US only uploading (copying & distributing) is illegal. Making it a crime just to possess information has serious free speech ramifications. Does anyone know if downloading is illegal in Germany today?

Mmm... (1)

psallitesapienter (809284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994691)

Well, I'm no german, but I will be living in Germany from now until 2007. I can say this much: german people tend to follow the rules straight through. I've spoken with some young germans, and I've also made comments about downloading 1 or 2 cds, mainly for educational purposes since these cds don't seem to be at the local library. And every time I get a scared face saying "but downloading is illegal!! you shouldn't do it!". So there you are. Germans, IMHO, seem to follow rules no matter how good or bad they are. Once again, that's my opinion.

'Stealing' software (1)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994694)

  • If I was Microsoft, I probably would be upset if someone started using a million copies of my software without paying.
  • If I was IBM, I probably wouldn't. I'd just wait until they called for a bug to be fixed, or wanted a feature. Then I'd negotiate a mutually-agreeable price for the work, and sign a contract.

Punishment does not fit the crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994737)

Piracy is wrong. Everyone is in agreement about that. There should be a punishment, but 2 years in prison is ludicris. They should treat it EXACTLY like shop lifting, arrest and fine, in and out in a few hours.

Two Years? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994700)

There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.

So, you'd get two years for stealing gum?

distinctions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994702)

If they refuse to make the distinction between physical theft and what are essentially software copyright violations then they should treat plagiarism in exactly the same manner.

2 years in prison for a stick of chewing gum? (1)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994704)

Man, I knew the Germans were tough, but 2 years in jail for a stick of gum!

What about if I leave the gum in the shop and make a magic clone of it? Still two years? Even though, at best the shop is out a *potential* sale, rather than losing actual stock?

What if I invent a replicator, like they have in Star Trek and I replicate a 90's CD in a time travel episode on a Holodeck. Is that like 2 years in Real-Jail or Holo-Jail? Why does the computer never tell Riker that he can't have Jazz played because its copyrighted?

Suppose it's an episode with parallel universes, and in 1 parallel universe I buy a copy of the CD, and this universe, I download it instead. That's a loss of a sale that happened in the parallel universe. Am I locked up for 2 years in this universe or in the parallel one?

I guess I mean that copyright infringement isn't theft, it's something less, and that the penalties should reflect that crime. The French are proposing 20 times the cost for an infringement and 150 times for sharing it (35 Euroes and 150 Euro fine), which already seems way above the 3x rule.

If you're looking for a good place to invest (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994705)

your money, it appears that the prison industry will be a good start. Is Germany's private prison industry as active as America's? These regulations sure will help the "dark net" and other privacy advocates and developers. Oh well, the majority has spoken. Who ever thought that the leaders of the Fourth Reich would be the content distributors?

Not really defending the behavior, but (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994715)

What if the users downloading the copyrighted material don't know that they are breaking the law. When someone goes into a shop and takes a pack of chewing gum it is painfully obvious that they are stealing. But when someone downloads something from the internet there isn't a mechanism in place to let them know that they are breaking the law.
Having a law that is so strict without giving the population time to become aware of the same protocols and same methods being used for both legal and illegal activity seems somewhat harsh. This law could cause legal downloads to be curbed sharply to.
Also, what if they download a version of the song that is copyrighted in the US, rather than the German version? Are they still violating any laws?

I said it before, and I'll say it again (-1, Flamebait)

thesatch (844290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994720)

Germans are the shittiest people on the planet.

Insanitiy and Stupidity and the lawmaking process (2, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994727)

German politicians are very much like every other politician or normal person not awar of the general principles of IT. They are blissfully ignorant of the actual consequences of todays IP laws they pass. The last draft of internet copyright protection law that made it into the real world was a haphazard and naive mess, littered with wrong vocablurary and barely made it not to be a classical 1984 "Thought Crime Law" as the US american DMCA is. This new law is a step closer to that though.
Brigitte Zypries said it right there though: She can't be bothered bugging the decision boards with such minor details as seperating IP control and access/market control and thus doesn't care about the effects. Politicians have other things to worry about - like the deficit. When asked if it where a proactive DRM circumvention if copying a CD on PC Linux (where current DRM is unaffective) she said something like "Well, in that case I would say, sort of, that if DRM is unaffective it's not there so it's no circumvention in this case." ... No word about that in the law.

It boils down to the courtroom again, where it's up to the judge to introduce sanity into the process again. I understand there are some US judges that have ruled the DMCA as unapplicable in some cases, as it's against the american constitution.

Goes to show what we all should never forget: Laws are made by humans and should be subject to perpetual scrunity.

punishment (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994733)

Whether the punishment is appropriate depends on what theory of punishment one takes. If one takes a retributive view, the punishment is unjust, since it is much higher than the harm of the crime. Note that the harm of copyright infringement is not just the financial loss, but the harm done to the state by encouraging a culture of unlawfulness. But it's clear that one download does not cause a harm equal to two years in jail. (Argument: Kidnapping someone for a period of two years causes more harm to this person than the total harm society suffers from one download.)

But if deterrence is the point, then a case can be made that crimes which it is easy to get away with should have extra high punishments, so as to make the expected value of the crime negative. If the probability of getting away is p, and one gains a value V from the crime, then the punishment must have value -W where V(1-p)-Wp V(1-p)/p. The chance of getting caught for one illegal download are, I assume, tiny, say 1/100,000. Well, then, the punishment must introduce a disvalue more than 100,000 times as great as the value of the crime (one DVD). If the DVD is $15, then a punishment greater than $1.5M is called for. Two years in jail might be roughly equivalent in disvalue tot he value of $1.5M, in the sense that it MIGHT be that most people would be willing to stay two years in jail if they were paid $1.5M for it.

That said, the punishment clearly is excessive, and so the above argument is a reductio ad absurdum of the deterrent theory considered on its own.

(Personally, I accept a combination of deterrent and retribution. Retribution sets an upper limit on what it is just to impose on a criminal. But sometimes it is uncharitable to impose the full amount, and one must impose the lower of the amounts required by deterrent and retribution.)

Re:punishment (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994746)

Oops. The "where V(1-p)-Wp V(1-p)/p" is a mangled form of "where V(1-p)-Wp < 0, i.e., W>V(1-p)/p"

Repeted lies by the entertainment industry (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994735)

It is amazing how much repeted lies the entertainment industry can get away with. They claim to be loosing billions of dollars, but yet they fail to provide any facts to support there claims. That alone has led me to the conclution that the entertainment industry is nothing but a pack of monopolist liars, i also subspect that they have wide network of polical power behind the sences. They shoud ban lobbing all lobbing, that power has obivisly been abused and is still being abused. I also do wonder how many MP's the entertainment industry has on it's payroll. Since power dosen't come cheap and never has.

(Sorry for spelling errors)

Sieg Heil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994741)

"'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'"

There should be a legal distinction because stealing chewing gum from a shop may lead to a physical altercation and is thus more dangerous. Also, if I steal chewing gum from a shop that means a potential buyer will not be able to buy that piece of gum since it is now gone. If I steal music that same music can still be sold to another potential buyer, so the damage is less, especially if I would not have been willing to pay for the music were I unable to steal it.

not a law - yet (1)

tolonuga (10369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14994747)

so far the ministry of justice has a proposal for a changed law.
that doesn't mean the bundestag will accept that proposal without changes.
at least joerg tauss of spd said there will be further long discussions,
and no simply voting on it. so lets hope for the best.

Paris convention ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14994749)

Huh, in Germany the Paris Convention about audiovisual works does not hold anymore?
AFAIK (IAAL), Paris Convention treats audiovisual works in the same way as books
- you can freely copy/obtain them from wherever you want, if you're doing it for
your personal use. You are not obliged to verify whether your source is legal;
it does not matter, you are still entitled to make personal copy of any copyrighted
material (that is the term 'Fair Use'). Imagine what you can do with the books:
Can you copy a book in a library? Of course, you can. Can you make copies of that
book and sell them? Of course not.

Downloading is legal, uploading is illegal.

Software is a little bit different animal; it is strictly bound to a valid licence.
Even owning a copy without valid licence is a crime.

Hirugato
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