back to article Germany’s rights-holders hit freetards hard

While other countries debate how to go after freetards, Germany’s ISPs are handing over user data for 300,000 accounts per month, according to an announcement by that country’s ISP association, Eco. The organization is claiming success against piracy, saying that the number of online pirates has declined by 20 percent in …


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  1. mark phoenix

    Time for a new organization to represent its customers

    Demands for money for illegal downloads are close to extortion. An IP address is not proof of guilt, but this is what the evidence is based on. Shared internet connections, poorly encrypted wifi networks are all cases of where the owner should not be held accountable. Most of the public are not computer experts and are incapable of securing their networks. Most downloads are by teenagers who are cash poor but time rich. Even if you stop them downloading, they will copy music from usb sticks or bluetooth from friends phones.

    Prosecution of the music industries own customers are the last gasp of an Industry that has failed to adapt. This is an Industry that still wants to stop you copying your music from CDs to MP3 players and stated that taping music was killing the business. Hail to the new breed of record labels that will emerge with a new model that welcomes consumers and good riddance to the dinosours.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      IP Address mapping

      Shared or piggybacked broadband are not the only problems.

      There have been cases reported in the UK where the ISP has handed out the details of a person as the holder of that IP address at the time of the incident incorrectly.

      At least once, the person had even left that ISP so could not have been using one of their IP addresses. In other cases, it was proved that the mapping of IP address to subscriber was not reliable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm pretty sure I read somewhere (might even have been here) that some trackers (like tpb) purposely generate fake IP's from various ISP's to reduce the validity of chasing people based on IP.

  2. Quidam


    or do they mean that since they started this, those same peeps have found better methods of circumventing the logs, thus showing a "decline"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      For example, perhaps 20% discovered that useful thing known as a proxy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Or direct downloads, irc, etc... or that legal alternatives came out.

  3. T J

    Must be a very robust government

    Must be a very robust government indeed. To imagine that it could survive this with the voters.

    1. Cazzo Enorme

      Re: Must be a very robust government

      You make the mistaken assumption that file sharing is anything more than a niche interest for a bunch of furry toothed geeks. Out in the real world those of us with a life are more concerned about little things like the economy, environmental issues and foreign policy when it comes to voting in government elections.

      1. Martijn Bakker

        @Cazzo Enorme

        Not quite.

        At least in my country, the political parties who fail to understand on-line privacy concerns, the cost (in terms of both money and freedom) of wiretapping and disconnection schemes, the whole fair use versus copyright infractions discussions are the same parties who neglect to keep up with all developments in science and technology.

        We will often see a strong correlation between failure to understand these issues which only interest a handful of hairy toothed geeks and failure to understand long term viability concerns of alternative energy sources, feasability and desirability of large govermnment IT projects and the necessity for data protection.

        The same uninformed politicians also mess up in environmental issues, bringing us government subsidies on undesirable alternative fuel sources (currently wind power and most biofuels). They mess up economically with failed road pricing schemes. They mess up in foreign policy by undersigning one-sided extradition and data exchange treaties.

        It's not just an issue for hairy toothed geeks. It's just plain daft to allow people who have not kept up with current developments to dictate your country's plans for the future.

  4. Martijn Otto

    20% rises in sales too?

    Have the sales of music and/or movies increased with 20% since 2008 too?

    Didn't think so!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20% decline?

    Could be that the products are crap and no-one wants even a free copy.

  6. Al fazed


    was the last time you listened to German music anyway ?


  7. Anonymous Coward

    Ve haff vays....

    ......all your IP are belong to us!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It was at a party at the weekend - Kraftwerk and Polerkries 18, both good examples of German music old and new.

      Oh, and the party was in Reading UK.

  8. Andy Fletcher

    Here we go

    Just like driving offenses. The people who are easy to identify (the ones who have jobs, incomes, pay their taxes and of course, probalby actually buy DVD's, CD's & games) are the ones who are easiest to go after.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Latest twist

    The high court (best approximate translation of Oberlandsgericht) in Cologne has just overruled an injunction against someone for sharing an audio book and created a precedent by distinguishing between individual customers and commercial use*. As far as I can tell this won't stop copyright holders or their representatives obtaining addresses and writing letters but does limit the scope for injunctions and fines. This one is likely to run and run.

    * (in Jorman, of course)

    1. g e

      It'll run and run

      until it's less profitable to keep doing it (and lobbying) instead of changing business model

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Suddenly reminded of Faust, the lawyers are the demon whispering in the execs ear "if we hunt them we;ll make more money, never admit you may be wrong, twist the knife and they'll bleed money!"

      Whilst all the while the Lawyers get super rich and the Media companies vanish up their own arse holes.

  10. wackston

    In practice: a licence to pursue legalised blackmail

    That way it works is as follows. You and your lawyer mateys get together to represent some low-end producers of really embarrassing porn. You then hire some insalubriuous types (ideally outside German jurisdiction) to set up a file-share IP scanning operation to look for the naughty people sharing these skin flicks. Shockingly these people (who're of course paid by volume) discover that literally 10000s of Germans are not only into teen donkey goings-on but also into sharing videos on the net!

    Now you've got 10000 easy marks for a legal hush-money operation (Bloated penalty fees, legal costs etc). Actually, its sufficient to simply write back undertaking not to share the files without accepting any liability. However, plenty of people pay up out of fear/embarrassment so its a terrific earner,

    An Kafkaesque twist is that the ISPs dont have to notify you they've handed out your details and erase connection logs (data-protection you understand) long before the deadline for the hard-working legal scum to 'get around' to sending their nasty-grams. This means you have no means whatsoever of disproving the accusation.

    Aside: the Cologne court ruling was in fact about a narrow technicality regarding the formulation of the cease-and-desist letters. The basis for the scam - the acceptability of mass-harvested IP addresses as legal 'evidence' and ISPs unwillingness to get of their behinds to provide evidence for their customers - remains.

    The situation here in Germay should be salutary reminder that permitting sloppy legal wheezes to 'whack the freetard menance' can come back to bite you... hard.

    I predict a lively market for tamper-proof IP traffic loggers in Germany if this continues.

  11. Antoinette Lacroix


    "Eco has determined, Eco concludes . " - No proof, no sources, no nothing. It's an association of Internet based businesses, what would you expect ?

    This is pure FUD. There is no obligation for a German ISP to store connection data. In a ruling in 2006 a federal appeal court decided that ISPs have no right to store logs without a legal reason and T-Online was ordered to delete all logs to guarantee the privacy of their customers. It is now common practice to delete logs after 7 days. In Germany, IP's are only revealed by court order and they are not issued on speculation. 300.000 ? They wish.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    You know it makes sense.

    Anon, 'cos well, guess.

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