German Court Says 'Accidental' File Sharing Isn't A Crime

from the accidentally-on-purpose dept

Michael Scott alerts us to the news that a court in Germany has found that accidental file sharing is not a crime. In this case, it involved a guy using file sharing software, where he didn't realize that anything he downloaded was automatically shared. For that reason, he was found not guilty of sharing the same content. Of course, as the article notes, this isn't likely to be meaningful in other lawsuits in Germany for a variety of reasons, including the lack of precedential power of court rulings, and the fact that most copyright cases in Germany are civil, rather than criminal cases (this one was criminal, because of the nature of the content). Still, in an era when "accidental infringement" has become pretty much the norm, it's nice seeing a court realize the problems of charging someone for infringing by accident.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    The gun went off your honor, it was an accident. I didn't know it would go off.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    uh? that's not even a close comparison. Way to compare apples to volkswagons, here.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Question

    Was this guy in a criminal case because he downloaded the "violent pornography" and the infringement was a secondary charge? Or was he in a criminal infringement case and the only reason it was criminal was because of the content of the infringing material?

    Basically I'm asking if violent pornography is illegal in Germany (I could see some being illegal) or did some uptight asshole make it a criminal case because they were offended by legal porn.

     

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

  4.  
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    zellamayzao, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    Its Volkswagen actually.


    Sorry....big fan of them. Had to correct you

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Idaho Potato Commisioner, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    tool

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: Question

    OK, never mind. I think I figured it out. This wasn't an "accidental infringement" case it was accidentally sharing an illegal file. If the file was illegal to download that it must be illegal to upload.

    Well, in that case I think it falls under "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". So he didn't pay attention to the software, that's his own damn fault.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    zellamayzao, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Question

    I was thinking the same thing about being ignorant of the law. Well playing the stoopid card worked in his favor so congrats to him I guess.


    I can hear him in court now,

    "Ich weisse nicht, Ich weisse nicht"

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Question

    It's not ignorance of the law. Ignorance of the law would imply that he intentionally performed an action that was illegal, without knowing it was illegal.

    The point here is that there was absolutely no intent to perform the act that he was charged with. He was cleared of the charge of "Distribution" because he had no intent to distribute the material, and didn't even know that it was being distributed from his computer.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Maybe they should arrest his computer?

    Well, it couldn't be the software's fault, they would have safe harbor from that, wouldn't they?

     

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

  10.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    The gun went off your honor, it was an accident. I didn't know it would go off.

    No - that's an ok analogy. If the charge was specifically "First Degree Murder" - then you would in fact be found innocent of that charge.

    Of course; after that - it might end up being manslaughter, etc - but for the 'accused offense' of Murder in the First degree, it would not apply.

    So yeah - a prosecutor could goof that up if the legal docs weren't in order somehow, I'm sure.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    This one ties together nicely with Mike's "dog ate my homework" post.

    It's nice to see the courts open up another flaming huge loophole that you could drive a truck through.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Errrr, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    Re:

    What ?

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:55pm

    Re:

    Wow - how lame is that

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re:

    The court just created another exception for "infringers". This is the "dog ate my homework" excuse, a total lie but difficult to disprove. Did you really intend to share that file, or did you just not realize what that nasty, sneaky piece of software actually did?

    It's another huge loophole.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's another huge loophole"

    In Germany maybe ...

    But I still do not get the relationship to the other story about the corrupted files.

    I didn't know that was in the shared folder
    ... is equal to
    I'm going to turn in a corrupted file because I didn't do the assignement

    Both are total lies ? Ok, I guess.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "SODDI" "dog ate my home work" "two black youths" - all excuses for why people aren't responsible for their own actions.

     

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


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