back to article Lawyers: We'll pillory porn pirates who don't pay up

A law firm from the southern German town of Regensburg has threatened to reveal the names of internet users whom it claims illegally distributed pornography over file-sharing networks – unless, that is, the accused pony up some cash. As reported by the English-language German newspaper The Local, the firm of Urmann and …

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Unhappy

Re: Sounds familiar

These are the actions of a bunch of greedy chancers who are flying a kite to see just how far they can push it.

I do expect that they will come crashing down but probably not before they have squeezed out some money from their victims.

I just hope that the German courts are able to get restitution for those attacked by these bandits a before they can shift the money out of reach.

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FAIL

EU Data Protection law?

I'm pretty sure that the law firm in question here would be in breach of EU Data Protection laws, regardless of that court case or not. Holding personal data (names are personal data), requires them to protect it. Sticking it on a website alongside a claim they breached copyright, which itself could be libel, would be the most ridiculous thing this firm could do.

The counter-suits would be asking for more than €1300, that's for sure.

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Paris Hilton

Re: EU Data Protection law?

Except they wouldn't be infringing the law if they have a statutory gateway that allows disclosure as they claim.

I'm not saying they are right, merely that DP laws wouldn't automatically prevent disclosure

Paris... does it need explanation?

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Coffee/keyboard

Fnarr Fnarr

producers of such seminal works as "So Swings Germany," "Amili Learns to Swallow," and "Alone Among Brutal Fuckers."

You owe me a new keyboard

I Think the last one is a documentary about the Bundesbank and the current euro crisis

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Coat

" Think the last one is a documentary about the Bundesbank"

From the makers of that famous documentary about the life of the 20th Century's greatest scientific mind, "Zwei Madchen, Einstein".

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Childcatcher

Re: Fnarr Fnarr

I am not familiar with the artistic works in question but I trust the gentlemen of the press to have done their research diligently in this case.

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Silver badge

Re: Fnarr Fnarr..."Alone Among Brutal Fuckers."

And here, I thought you were speaking about Wall Street WBankers!!!

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Coat

Re: Fnarr Fnarr..."Alone Among Brutal Fuckers."

I thought it was a remake of "Mr. Smith goes to Washington"

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Blackmail

I think they will be OK publishing these names only if they actually go ahead with the cases against every person that they name on their webpages. But if they are using this threat as a way to destroy someones reputation then it was blackmail and becomes libel after the fact if the claims are unproven.

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Re: Blackmail

"...and becomes libel after the fact if the claims are unproven."

Whether the claims are true or not, in Germany this would be "Beleidigung", to damage someone's reputation. When you understand that in Germany, you can be sued for Beleidigung if you stick your middle finger up to a motorist who has just cut you up, it becomes clear that Germans take offence seriously and that they also take it to court.

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Can Porn Be Copyrighted: A Possible Issue To Be Decided.

The article from this link is about a legal theory that claims pornography can not be copyrighted. Although not having a direct relation to the specific subject of the clearly extortionate and criminal enterprise of Urmann and Colleagues, and although I note that that criminal enterprise is being played out in Germany, it is interesting all the same.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/02/can-porn-be-copyrighted-one-file-sharing-defendant-says-no/

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Silver badge

I'm not a lawyer but that doesn't seem likely does it?

Further up this page there's a discussion of the right to bear arms in the U.S. If the argument there is valid, a law may contain a statement of the reason for the law's existence without relying or depending on that statement. So in this case, school books are worthwhile and are protected by copyright, but mere filth is also protected. And anyway your pornography may be not mere filth but art after all - look at D. H. Lawrence et cetera. You used to have to get that from Paris, you know what they"re like there.

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Porn pirates?

I say - hang them from the yards!

Being attacked by pirates is already a highly dangerous and traumatic experience. But if they board your ship while being stark naked and simultaneously having sex in various position that must be sheer terror beyond human imagination!

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g e

Massive fail in the making

The ghost of ACS Law past is coming to visit...

Popcorn please!

(Popcorn icon please, too!)

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Arkell v Pressdram 1971

It would be very tempting to respond to one of these letters by saying, "Thank you for your letter. May I direct you to the response given in the case of Arkell v Pressdram 1971? I am sure your clients will be able to explain the first word of that response to you if you are having difficulty with it."

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Silver badge

Re: Arkell v Pressdram 1971

You want to start a lawyering fight with a law firm? I think they might have a slight advantage there. Even if your arguments are infinitely better, they can still make the case drag on for a decade and cost you several times your lifetime earnings.

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Re: Arkell v Pressdram 1971

"You want to start a lawyering fight with a law firm? I think they might have a slight advantage there. Even if your arguments are infinitely better, they can still make the case drag on for a decade and cost you several times your lifetime earnings."

But that's the whole point, isn't it? The last thing they want is to end up actually having to argue one of these cases in court. Their whole business model is predicated on the threat of legal action, if they have to follow through and end up losing a case or (worse) end up with a ruling against certain of their practices, it could blow them out of the water.

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Anonymous Coward

So does this mean I can set up a website (in Germany) accusing their lawyers of all sorts of juicy shenanigans along with their addresses as long as I suggest that I might (possibly one day if I can be bothered which I probably can't because I just made it all up) sue them?

Awesome - libel is legal now

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Publishing the names what a great idea, brings back memories of the days when doctors were attacked because somebody published names of Pediatricians instead of Pedophiles.

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Anonymous Coward

just counter sue for slander. the lawyers are still the ones getting rich, either way, not the poor peon who went naked.

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Anonymous Coward

Typo

You wrote "could potentially be huge business for U+C, even if none of the cases go to trial."

Should be "could potentially be huge business for U+C, especially if none of the cases go to trial."

Now it's a write-once, send-many spam attack on users, with (like all 419s) some fraction of users sending cash. For each user going to trial, you have to one-on-one spend expensive hours lawyering about, plus there's a good chance of the whole scheme collapsing.

/Note to self: do not join german clergy or police for a while.

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Anonymous Coward

Sauerkraut

These guys need to lighten up.

Oh that's right, they're lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

They'd better hope there's a decent sprinkler system in their office...

...well, accidents often happen to companies behaving like gangsters.

There's no justice like angry mob justice...

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How is this even legal?

Henry VI (Pt 2), Act IV, Scene II springs to mind

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Anonymous Coward

Alone Among Brutal F*ck*rs

can, of course, be rearranged as "El Reg, a nonfactual mob rusk".

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Linux

"A law firm from the southern German town of Regensburg has threatened to reveal the names of internet users whom it claims illegally distributed pornography over file-sharing networks – unless, that is, the accused pony up some cash." -- As others have mentioned, this is Blackmail. I would just call their bluff and let them reveal my name. Then I would sue them for defamation, loss of reputation and of course, Blackmail and Extortion. It's like a big sue-ball shit-sandwich for them and they would run a mile, particularly if they were facing a swathe of just such legal actions against them.

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Anonymous Coward

You can buy a lot of ddos service for 1200 euros, I suspect they might have problems publishing some peoples names...

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Alert

The first time the lawyers reached out..

Did you just use the term 'reached out'?

Arrrgh, my eyes!!!!!

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WTF?

Pretty sure this would count as blackmail here in the UK, and prolly Germany as well?

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Well......

Of course this would be defamation (specifically, under UK law it would be Libel). But's that's whole point - you'd have to go to court and dispute and present arguments & evidence - which is what they want you to do. OR just not say anything, at which point you'll find it harder to subsequently deny it. Not a nice tactic, nonetheless.

As regards the second amendment thing. Could you present an argument that anyone who wishes to keep a gun has volunteered for the Militia? ;-)

I have to say I can understand someone wanting a sporting gun, or a gun for pest control, or a historical weapon, or even a weapon for self-defence. Not quite sure why someone in civilian life needs to own a range of AK-47s or a Bazooka, though.

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Dray

Lawyers checking out porn for profit?

Who'd have thought it?

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