Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, germany, riaa

Companies:
riaa



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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  • identicon
    Matt Bennett, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:05pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2007 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      mmmm, I'm not for the RIAA's tactics or anything,
      So you say, and then you go and argue for it. I smell a troll.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:08pm

    shoplifting (or theft) is a criminal matter. copyright infringement is a civil matter. completely different.

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

    • identicon
      BTR1701, 6 Aug 2007 @ 8:21am

      Re: Civil/Criminal

      > shoplifting (or theft) is a criminal matter.
      > copyright infringement is a civil matter.
      > completely different.

      Wrong. The U.S. copyright statute has both civil and criminal provisions. It has to or the FBI would have no jurisdiction to investigate and/or arrest.

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

  • identicon
    Trouble Maker, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:10pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2007 @ 5:13pm

      Re: two cents worth

      From #3: "I don't understand...Is it OK, to break the Law if it doesn't cause "substantial damage"?"

      Um. Yes. Yes it is.

      Of course, that asks the question, what qualifies as "substantial damage", which is another matter entirely from the question you asked.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:29pm

    Germany ROCKS!!!!

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

  • identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:30pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Mystified, 3 Aug 2007 @ 2:25pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    BillGod, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:32pm

    RIAA SUCKS.... But

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Dan, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:41pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2007 @ 1:52pm

    won't versus can't

    Looking at the last paragraph of the one Dan talked about (linked in original article), it looks almost like its not that they wont, but more along the lines that they cant use a criminal invesigation process to get evidence for civil cases

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

    • identicon
      Dan, 3 Aug 2007 @ 2:37pm

      Re: won't versus can't

      Yes, it basically says that they will not (and can not) do a criminal invesigation that intrude on basic rights of an indivual simply because they recieve a complant and the purpose of criminal invesigations can not be to obtain information on someone just to use in a civil lawsuit.

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

  • identicon
    Tyrants., 3 Aug 2007 @ 2:18pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2007 @ 10:06am

      Re: Piracy vs. Real Crimes.

      People keep comparing piracy to shoplifting, it may be stealing,...
      No, it isn't, and the courts have clearly said so.

      It may be stealing, but...
      Again, no it isn't.

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

  • identicon
    Tyrants., 3 Aug 2007 @ 2:23pm

    Piracy vs. Real Crimes.

    >

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

  • identicon
    Tyrants., 3 Aug 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Piracy vs. Real Crimes.

    Sorry missed a word and trying to fix it.

    **In a world where our information and media doubles almost every **(year)** anymore how do they expect us not to want access to such things**

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

  • identicon
    Tyrants., 3 Aug 2007 @ 3:01pm

    Piracy vs. Real Crimes.

    I don't disagree at all and understand the case, just wanted a place to vent about my feelings about these agencies that I have been thinking about how huge they are making things out to be.

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

  • identicon
    Chris, 3 Aug 2007 @ 4:48pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Byron W, 4 Aug 2007 @ 9:19am

    A.C. "troll"

    It's way more than a troll, it's NWO - (E.U.), hang on for the ride!

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

  • identicon
    vargas, 4 Aug 2007 @ 9:41am

    More should stand up

    Nice to see a country standing up to the music industry with a perfectly rational explanation as to why they refuse to bend over! Sheesh!

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

  • identicon
    Kristiyan Kirchev, 5 Aug 2007 @ 6:50am

    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."

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

  • identicon
    Mojo, 5 Aug 2007 @ 2:40pm

    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...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2007 @ 5:18pm

      Re: 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.
      No, copyright infringement isn't stealing and claiming otherwise is a big lie.

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


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