German Politician Who Wanted Two-Strike Copyright Law Should Disconnect Himself After Multiple Infringements Found

from the do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do dept

One of the most noticeable trends in copyright law around the world is the way countries tend to adopt similar approaches. So after the "three strikes" law was introduced in France, the UK followed suit, and other nations are at various stages of doing the same. A cynic might almost suggest the whole thing was coordinated somehow.

To be fair, the copying is not always exact. For example, in the US, major ISPs have agreed to a “five/six strikes” plan, depending on how you count. More recently, a German politician called Siegfried Kauder has proposed a “two-strikes” law. After just one accusation from rightsholders, there's a warning; after two accusations, you'd be disconnected from the Internet for three weeks – without any need for a court order (link to German news story).

But this being the Internet age, a supporter of the German Pirate Party, Alexander Double, decided to check out Kauder's digital presence. To his amusement, he found several pictures on Kauder's official web site that seemed to have come from somewhere else. For example, the top right-hand picture on this page uses a picture from Panoramio, but with the EXIF data of the latter stripped out in the former.

After Double raised this issue in a blog post, those pictures were no longer visible on Kauder's site (the link above goes to an archive copy on the Wayback Machine to show the original state). In explanation, Kauder tried to turn things to his advantage, telling the German magazine Der Spiegel:
"Ich bin denen dankbar, die mir Gelegenheit gegeben haben zu zeigen, dass das Warnmodell funktionieren kann. Ich wurde auf die Verwendung von zwei Lichtbildern auf meiner Homepage aufmerksam gemacht, die urheberrechtlich geschützt sind. Die Fotos sind entfernt. Also: Das Warnmodell funktioniert."
or, roughly translated:
"I'm grateful to those who have given me the opportunity to show that the warning model can work. I was made aware of two photos on my Homepage that were protected by copyright. The photos have been removed. So the warning model works."
End of the story, you might have thought: he seems to admit that he shouldn't have used them but, as he says, the notice he received ensured that they were removed from his site.

But as people continued digging into that site, they found that some of the images were still there on the server, just not visible. Moreover, there were other photos that seemed to have come from elsewhere – for example, the left-hand part of the home page's banner image looks like it was borrowed from here. As Alexander Double pointed out, that makes *two strikes* in all: if Kauder's law had been in force, his Internet connection would be cut off for three weeks, no judge required.

This entertaining saga shows a number of things. That, once more, the politicians most keen to bring in severe laws against copyright infringement – indeed, against just alleged copyright infringement – themselves often break them. And even if this happened by accident, it goes to show just how easy it is for people to break the law without realizing it; and yet that would presumably not be admitted as a defense. It also shows that Kauder's "warning" system doesn't work: he was warned, and removed some images, but left others that appear to infringe.

Even Kauder's colleagues in the pro-copyright CDU are distancing themselves from what are being called “Kauder-Strikes” (with the follow-on scandal about the unauthorized images being dubbed “Kaudergate”). Here's what the politician Peter Altmaier tweeted:
Kauder-Strikes geht gar nicht: Wer Bücher klaut ist kriminell, aber man nimmt ihm nicht die Lesebrille weg.
That is:
Kauder-Strikes are just not on. Someone who steals a book may be a criminal, but we don't take away their reading glasses.
And yet that is precisely what the “three strike” laws and their variants around the world are trying to do.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:35am

    There should be

    one law for us, one law for you freetards. As a politician and policy maker he should be exempt from the law as well as those groups responsible for it

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: There should be

    You forgot the troll word of the month. Syncophants was it?

    No cookie for you.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Matt (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Re: There should be

    Agreed. It just makes sense to have two laws. The law for the copyright advocates should make accidental infringement criminal, and it should be a capital offense.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:54am

    On the X-strikes law, all MAFIAA sites would be disconnected. Even HADOPI got their fair share of strikes.

    It's amusing how he has tasted some of his wide collateral effects first hand but still supports such idiocy. I guess once an idiot always an idiot huh? Germans should take note and put a Pirate Party member in his place ;)

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 11:01am

    The status quo never creates laws to use against themselves, they're always intended to be used against anyone whose interest is contrary to or a threat to the status quo.

    Except in those rare circumstances when the status quo is forced to make a scapegoat out of one of their own.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Tom The Toe, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 11:50am

    "Someone who steals a book may be a criminal, but we don't take away their reading glasses".
    But we will take away their library card.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    Unless the library card is necessary for entrance to the library, the fact that they're stealing the books means that the possession of a library card is irrelevant to them.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Tom The Toe, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re:Re:

    Taking the library card is just a precautionary measure.

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re:Re:

    nah, it's clearly a case of taking your imaginary library card for not making Monsanto strawberries that give this the edge of unreality.

    Oh, wait...

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    Making money the Techdirt way! Way to go Glyn, your writing is almost a duplicate of the bosses, including the wonderful tinge of "Gotcha!".

    Enjoy the extra cash!

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    Now we just need some members of Anonymous to DDOS his internet connection for 3 weeks...

    (Dear FBI: I do not belong to Anonymous. This is not a terrorist plot. It is a joke.)

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    You're such a sad case of bitterness.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re:

    So, you have anything substantive to say about the actual article, or are baseless attacks the best you have, today?

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 9:52pm

    They Just Donít Get It, Do They?

    Sometimes I think itís just the rare ones like you and me who understand the real ramifications of Intellectual Property. The freetards are just like ignorant children.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:36pm

    Re:

    Whiny troll is whiny.

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    It's even worse (or funnier depening on your perspective)

    Glyn, you forgot to mention another damning aspect of the story: while gleefully (and wrongfully) pointing out that his proposed law works, Kauder also said that he had acquired copyright on the first two pictures and would advise anyone from reusing them elsewhere.

    Funnily enough you can't transfer copyrights in Germany but only the right of use. Meaning, a guy proposing new laws on a certain topic doesn't even know the first thing about this topic. Go figure.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    dan hass, Oct 4th, 2011 @ 3:28am

    3 strikes plans

    I wonder if the people who endorse the strike plans realize that they level the playing field such that unscrupulous characters may make accusations against all those that endorse the plans, so they lose their Internet connection faster than the 'little people'.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    martyburns (profile), Oct 4th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re:

    Nice disclaimer. I'd start to use it too but then again don't want to infringe on your copyright...

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Oct 4th, 2011 @ 5:05am

    Re: There should be

    "one law for us, one law for you freetards. As a politician and policy maker he should be exempt from the law as well as those groups responsible for it"

    This is already in place, unwritten law - etc.
    The proof is that this guy will not be held accountable for his actions.

     

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


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