German Prosecutors Tell Entertainment Industry They Won't Help Going After P2P Users

from the petty-offense dept

We’ve never quite understood why in the US and some other countries, a civil matter between businesses and their customers should require help from public law enforcement. However, that’s what happened with copyright issues, as the entertainment industry has been able to get various law enforcement organizations from the FBI to SWAT teams to work for them. They’ve also got the US’s top cop proposing legislation for their benefit. However, it looks like folks in Germany have a very different view. Public prosecutors in Germany are apparently telling entertainment industry lawyers that they won’t help the industry track down file sharers, noting the “obvious disproportionateness” of trying to go after people for file sharing, and noting that unauthorized file sharing was merely “a petty offense,” while pointing out that, despite industry claims to the contrary, “there was no evidence that substantial damage had been done.” In other words, they’re saying that the German gov’t shouldn’t get involved in a private business squabble from an industry that is blowing file sharing totally out of proportion — especially when there’s little evidence that file sharing is actually doing any harm. Sounds like a pretty reasonable position.

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “German Prosecutors Tell Entertainment Industry They Won't Help Going After P2P Users”

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Matt Bennett says:

mmmm, I’m not for the RIAA’s tactics or anything, but it could be pointed out that a store having police arrest a shoplifter is a “private business matter.”

It’s just not a good argument, is all. If they have proof (and they often don’t)of a crime being committed (and some of this activity really is a crime, whether you think it’s equivalent to stealing or not), then getting the police involved is not so inappropriate.

Trouble Maker says:

two cents worth

I don’t understand…Is it OK, to break the Law if it doesn’t cause “substantial damage”?

But then what can you expect from any body of humanity that that puts self in front of selflessness. This is the same group of people that feel it is OK to park in a no parking zone because it is only for a moment, or the ones that deny the rights of others for the connivance of themselves.

But when someone infringes on their rights……HOLD THE PHONE! Worthless hypocrites.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

German officials are NOT saying it is a crime

The Germans are simply saying that the offense in question is too petty to be worthwhile.

Using the shoplifting example above, if a shop owner catches a shoplifter, then they may call the police to arrest. But the shop owner CANNOT request the police to patrol the shop for thieves.

The RIAA is not even stating there is a crime. They are saying that they SUSPECT some people are engaging in the petty crime and want the German Government to do something about it.

The German Government is taking that position, if there is a crime in your store then let us know but as a Government, we are not going to actively patrol you store for thieves.

I do not have the police patrolling the inside of my house; I can report a crime for investigation. But if the theft or damages is so small or slight then the police will simply right up a report and move on. I may not like my mailbox smashed but I do not expect the police to scramble all resources to find the miscreant.

I am responsible for some of the security; the police are NOT responsible for ALL security and law enforcement. Individuals do have some responsibility, if simply to report.

Mystified says:

Re: German officials are NOT saying it is a crime

Very well put Ajax!

If the RIAA is able to collect a credible level of evidence that a serious crime has been committed, using methods and tactics that are within the letter of the law, then the proper agency should investigate, arrest and prosecute. If the RIAA is getting ANY help from government agencies in carrying out the collection of initial evidence, then EFF or somebody should file suit against RIAA for misappropriation of public funds, resources and services.

BillGod says:


I can’t stand any of the tactics the RIAA uses. Heres my opinion (as though anyone cares) If you were selling pirated copies of a movie out side the movie theater. The cops would arrest you. Thats copy write infringement. Yes it’s a civil matter but the cops would still arrest you for it. The problem comes from when the RIAA uses an entire SWAT team to break down some poor DJ’s door and confiscate everything in his house. A simple knock on the door with a police office by their side with a proper warrant would have sufficed. Instead they choose the hollywood style attack so it makes the news and puts the scare tactic on everyone.

Dan says:

Other than just this article, read the link in the article that is linked with the phase “that they won’t help the industry track down file sharers”

One of the things in the article is that IPs reported were done on a massive scale, and it was doubtful the group wanting the info was “genuinely interested in initiating criminal proceedings.” Also important is the final paragraph, saying that they cant launch an invesigation that violates rights because of complaints against the IP.

Tyrants. says:

Piracy vs. Real Crimes.

People keep comparing piracy to shoplifting, it may be stealing, but w/ our technology it’s more like walking out w/ a 1 cent piece of bubble gum. A copy of a copy of copy costs nothing but an internet connection and hard drive space. It may be stealing, but in no way should be compared to stealing physical objects, it’s to easy and too tempting for people. It seems that the big deal the MPAA and RIAA are making this out to be is just something new to do, new jobs for people to think that they are doing some kind of justice in the world. Using Swat and FBI resources for such petty crimes should really be looked into, there are much more important things that they could cracking down. Minors access to porn and child porn is much more important than stealing from the richest industries in the world. Just cause there is money to back up the piracy issue doesn’t make it more important than real felonies and if they keep acting like people have committed first degree murder they will get shut down just like the BSA. Also they’re statics, as stated in publications from very important news companies, are totally wrong. They just add up the estimated illegal downloads and count that as how much money they are loosing, but how many average people w/ normal salaries by working for the “man” actually make enough to actually afford to pay for all that media, so they are actually loosing a fraction of what they say they are. It may be stealing, but they will eventually have to bite the bullet and realize that w/ technology comes change and they will have to make a change in the way they distribute they’re media and in the pricing. Give the customers what they want, which is media on demand, people would gladly pay subscription fees to do that! In a world where our information and media doubles almost every anymore how do they expect us not to want access to such things. The amount of movies and music out is probably 10x as much as there was 15 years ago.

Chris says:

Laws! lol

“I don’t understand…Is it OK, to break the Law if it doesn’t cause “substantial damage”?”

In the state of Alabama, it is illegal to have a mixed race marriage. (section 102 of the Alabama Constitution. The passage, written , in 1901, bars the Legislature from enacting any law “to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a Negro or descendant of a Negro.”)

I think you give credit to all laws being worth upholding, when some are clearly something that should never have made it into the books. When laws are worth upholding I agree with you.

Kristiyan Kirchev says:

the chief public prosecutor’s office accuses the copyright holders of trying “under cover of pretending to want to initiate criminal proceedings to obtain for free and by exploiting the limited resources of the prosecuting authorities and at the expense of the budget of the federal state of Berlin the personal data required for the successful pursuit of civil claims.”

Mojo says:

The thing no one talks about...

Of course piracy is stealing, taking something for nothing that is normally paid for is stealing, whether it’s physical or digital.

But the LOSSES being reported is another story.

What I’ve never seen discussed is the fact that the vast majority of music and movies being downloaded is stuff MOST PEOPLE WOULND’T BUY ANYWAY.

If you were given a shopping spree in a candy store you would grab all kinds of crap you’d never normally buy and eat, but it’s free, so what the hell.

People go into file sharing networks and just grab anything and everything… BECAUSE THEY CAN. It’s fun and it opens up your world to things you never would have experiences otherwise.

I’ve downloaded movies that I didn’t have enough interest to see in theaters or want to spend the money to rent but if it’s sitting right there and I’m bored, what the hell. I never would have paid for it anyway.

The point is the studios equate every song or movie downloaded as a revenue loss, when if you were to actually figure out how many of those people who downloaded that item were doing it SPECIFICALLY to save the $10 they were going to spend, you’d get a much, much smaller number.

Lots of people exclusively buy used CDs – that money does not go to the record companies. If I only ever buy used CDs and I download the album for free instead, it’s still not right, but it’s not a revenue loss for the studios because if I bought the used CD (or DVD) they would not have gotten a penny anyway.

That sort of thing puts your local used media merchants out of business (which I don’t want to do), but all this should be considered when the studios claim that every download is another $10 loss…

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