Germany Says File Sharers Deserve Plenty Of Jailtime

from the what-are-you-in-for? dept

Just as France is looking to support consumers' rights when it comes to file sharing, it looks like Germany is going in the opposite direction. John submits this story about a new law set to go into effect in Germany that will make casual downloaders risk two years in jail, for getting an unauthorized copy of the latest music or movie. One of the defenders of the law has this lovely quote: "There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download." Of course there should be a legal difference. In one case, something tangible is missing and then can't be bought by someone else. In the other case, that's not true at all. So, whether or not it's illegal, there obviously should be a legal distinction between the two -- and it's a bit worrisome that some people still can't see the difference.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Dutchman, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 1:37am

    Legallity of downloads

    Above the fact that you do not steal something physical that cannot be sold anymore there is one other thing. In my personal opinion, as long as you do not pay for something you can click on on the internet, it should not be able to be classified as an illegal action.

    The reasoning behind that, is the fact that you as a downloader have nowhere seen a clue about the fact that you are about to be doing something illegal. Furthermore, it is a fact that nobody gets any richer from someone illegaly downloading shared stuff.

    This, offcourse, is a bit black&white; if a site is adversing itself as the best place to get something illegally, you can reasonably assumed to be knowing that you will end up with an illegal copy.

    Also, if a site charges money for getting to such stuff, you should get after the people who are actually charging the money.

    Going after the downloaders themselves isn't worth the effort, and you are trying to mop up water with the tap still running, as the saying goes.

     

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  2.  
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    Ram_R, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 2:11am

    Will it then be illegal for one to buy a packet of chewing gum and then "share" it with others?

     

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  3.  
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    Taco Jim, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 2:29am

    Stealing

    The bible sez it's a sin to steal. But why then do Chirstian Rock bands "sell for profit" thier music. Should the spread of the word of God be enough. Download till your hearts content kids. Sharing art and music with the world should not be for personal gain but for the betterment of society.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Giuseppe, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 3:11am

    In jail !!!

    In Italy our funny president Mr. Berlusconi already decided years ago a law agains the file sharing.
    You can go in Jain and pay also big bill.
    Also all the factory that produced dvd or cd in Italy closed last year because our governement made a tax about the production of this kind of support that favourite the illegal copy. So now we buy cd and DVD by Internet from outside country.
    welcome to Italy...the 21th century "Bulgaria".

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Some Guy, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 3:16am

    What's shameful is their use of the term 'filesharing'. Listening to them it makes you think that downloading the latest episode of TWiT with Bit Torrent will put you in jail. Then again that's the goal of RIAA and the MPAA. To make it impossible for anyone to create and share media without spending thousands of dollars for bandwidth.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Alan, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 3:27am

    "Will it then be illegal for one to buy a packet of chewing gum and then "share" it with others?"

    THAT HAS GOT TO BE THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE HEARD YET.

    In America, we have losers that dedicate their lives to proving they are idiots. These idiots got together and formed the cult aka the RIAA. My personal opinion: They need to hold a mass suicide..I mean Mass Movement for the Betterment of the Whole!

    It is ashame Germany is doing this. Next they will have a law about buying a BMW (awesome cars I may add) and "sharing" it with your wife. If you both want to enjoy the BMW, BUY TWO! Bad, bad Government! No Treat!!! We didn't liborate you from the Nazi's for you to do it all over again!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Ed, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    Stealing is Illegal

    Why I absolutely agree that there is a big problem with the music and movie industry in their handling of intellectual property, stealing is illegal and should always be.
    The writer mentions that a download has nothing tangible, the heck it doesn't. First, there's the file itself, but more importantly is that it is something that you can listen to or see. Saying that a music CD is any different than a download of the file that is on it, is ludicrous.
    If you don't think that something in a file should be protected, then I'll let your bank know that it is okay for them to give me a file with all of your bank account information in it.
    Movies and songs are not free to produce. They shouldn't be free to consume. When we listen to the radio, we don't get it for free, we have to listen to advertising. But then again the radio station doesn't have to pay $0.99USD per person when we listen to it.
    You know the whole problem with the cost of movies and songs? Many people happily pay for them.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 5:19am

    Two years in jail?

    ... casual downloaders risk two years in jail
    "There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download."

    Will they be putting gum stealers in jail for two years then?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    discojohnson, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:00am

    Re: Two years in jail?

    It'd be the opposite: illegal downloads land you a $50 fine or the like

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    sebsauvage, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:23am

    Support consumer's rights ???

    "France is looking to support consumers' rights" ?

    Are you kidding ?

    With this new law (DADVSI), a VideoLan user can be fined 750€, because VideoLan circumvents the CSS DVD protection system.

    And the VideoLan developers can potentially face a 30'000€ fine and 6 months in jail.
    (Have a look at http://www.videolan.org/eucd.html )

    Supporting consumer's rights ?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Lotso, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:25am

    To share or not to share...

    I'd like the "share" my thoughts on this topic but I can't risk the jail time for doing so...

    It seems that if you want my thoughts you'll have to pay for them...

    /groan

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Lotso, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:26am

    To share or not to share...

    I'd like to "share" my thoughts on this topic but I can't risk the jail time for doing so...

    It seems that if you want my thoughts you'll have to pay for them...

    /groan

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    alternatives, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 7:35am

    Gum, guns and RIAA

    1) Does stealing a hunk of gum get ya 2 years? Because that is the equivalance.

    2) If the RIAA law was just and enforcable, I hear the US Military is a hotbead of 'violation'. So why isn't the RIAA going after the military troops?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 7:40am

    Don't know what you're all complaining about. You can bitch about the nuances of the word "steal" all day long, but in the end, you're still aquiring a product for free that you were intended to purchase.

    It's obviously illegal to download a copy of Microsoft Windows, but somehow not being able to download a song is a violation of your rights? Wake up, folks.

    As to sentencing, I'm curious about who actually doesn't understand that downloading commercial material you didn't pay for is illegal. Seriously... I don't know a single person that doesn't know that. Maybe they're out there, but from a statistical viewpoint based on my little corner of the world, it's not looking good.

    We need to solve the problem of reconciling our right to fair use and the content provider's right to be paid. They're both valid, and violating either should be illegal.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    giafly, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 7:53am

    The Sellers intentions are irrelevant

    Re: You can bitch about the nuances of the word "steal" all day long, but in the end, you're still aquiring a product for free that you were intended to purchase..

    As Ram_R said, "Will it then be illegal for one to buy a packet of chewing gum and then "share" it with others?"

    When this RIAA business started up, I swore never to buy music from them and I never have. So they don't lose even a cent if someone else shares music with me.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    bshock, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 8:52am

    Nice to know there are least a few MPAA/RIAA shills who read this site.

    But Germany doing something horrifyingly draconian? Who could've imagined THAT?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:02am

    Some habits die hard

    *cough* Nazi tendencies *cough*

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Another Anon Commenter, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:25am

    RE: Two years in jail?

    I am not sure what state you live in but there are people in California getting LIFE for stealing a pack of gum (3rd strikers). But this is the way things trend these days...alas. As for file-sharing this is going to be a very tough one to get ahold of and find some solution everyone will like.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Mik3_D, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:26am

    Everyone keeps going way overboard

    Filesharing isn't like stealing a pack of gum its more like jay-walking. Its really not that big a deal people. Lighten up. The inndustries are suffering from their own shitty buisness practices not because you download files.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:27am

    Germany's answer to everything...

    Throw 'em in the ovens!

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Chucky Cheese, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:57am

    Re: RE: Two years in jail?

    And how many people do you know with two felonies on their record? How many do you have? Now, that said, how stupid do you have to be to steal ANYTHING if it means going to jail for life (lies.. 26 years)? We need to cull society anyway.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 9:59am

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

    except for the whole thing about nothign being stolen and all.

    which also means that the download wasn't illegal.

    Anyway, heil hitler and all that non-sense. fucking german maniacs.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 10:00am

    ooh wait, I got a good one:

    Concentration Camps for downlaoders!

    hah

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 10:02am

    Heil RIAA! *raises left hand*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    Send 'em all to Auschwitz! That place is still standing, I think. Never bombed once.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    AlcoholicPrankMonkey, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 7:39pm

    What happens if you DL an album but then send the artist a pack of gum? Would that be OK?

    If I sent the artist a stolen pack of gum would they then be arrested for handling/receiving stolen goods?

    If they then shared that gum with fellow artists before being arrested would they then also face 2 years for conspiracy after the fact?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Andy, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 10:40pm

    The law was extremely lobbied by the German music industry. German people don't want it, but since industry lobbies more than ever, they didn't stand a chance. And they even try to sell this solution as "user-friendly".

     

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  28.  
    icon
    TechNoFear (profile), Mar 27th, 2006 @ 11:45pm

    >>Nice to know there are least a few MPAA/RIAA shills who read this site.

    And everybody who thought (and spoke up) that we should not attack Iraq four years ago was a 'terrorist'.


    I will accept your 'right' to download software I have written, without paying for it.
    You will do this because;
    you would not have paid for it in the first place,
    you don't like my business model
    or its not theft to obtain a digital good without payment.

    You will have to accept that I am going to 'protect' my software with code to damage your PC and your reputation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 4:05am

    Re:

    hahahhahhahaha, thats da funniest thing Ive read all day. Nice ^_^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Jeffrey Stimson, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 4:19am

    Re: Re: Two years in jail?

    Quote : "It'd be the opposite: illegal downloads land you a $50 fine or the like"

    Heh well a illegal install of windows 98 which costs like 80 when it was new will fetch a business owner up to a 100,000 dollar fine. A 50 dolalr fine for ripping off a movie would only encourage stealing because oh well if i get caught it aint that bad. The idea is to hit you with something lifeshattering or finacially devistating that way you wont do it it... or atleast hopefully again.

    Im not for this but im just telling you what reality is!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 7:48am

    "The idea is to hit you with something lifeshattering or finacially devistating that way you wont do it it... or atleast hopefully again. "

    Like a Hallocaust!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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