Music industry launches illegal downloading blitz
9 June 2004, COTTBUS – Germany's music industry has launched a blitz on illicit downloading with a German already fined and ordered to pay damages for illegal file sharing.
9 June 2004
COTTBUS – Germany's music industry has launched a blitz on illicit downloading with a German already fined and ordered to pay damages for illegal file sharing.
Police who raided his home found 6,000 MP3 files on his computer, which was connected to the KaZaa peer-to-peer network worldwide. The 23-year-old trainee was convicted in the eastern city of Cottbus early last month, but the case was not publicized till this week.
Analysts say peer-to-peer networks are characterized by many takers and few givers, and the recording industry hopes to destroy them by homing in on the givers in selected countries.
Officials in Cottbus confirmed the man had been slapped with a EUR 400 fine and had agreed in an out-of-court settlement to pay EUR 8,000 in damages plus court costs.
The German Phono Federation said police first picked up the accused's mother from work and made her open the apartment. He arrived home to find police searching his hard disk and checking his collection of 100 self-compiled CDs with 1,000 songs on them.
He was summarily convicted in the afternoon of the same day. Court officials said the modest nature of the fine was because he earned very little. He was identified after police approached his internet service provider to explain who was behind his IP address.
Every online device has an internet protocol address, but unlike domain names, IP addresses often shift within minutes or hours and can only be linked to users by using the log files on big servers.
Some US providers have refused to disclose customers' identities to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) investigators, but in Germany, public prosecutors can require a provider to disclose such information.
The phono industry federation has filed official police complaints against 68 suspected copyright breachers in Germany.
It said Monday that two computers were seized last week from the home of a 57-year-old schoolteacher in the Stuttgart area of southern Germany.
On the drives were thousands of music files although the man only owned 25 shop-sold CDs which he could have legally copied for private purposes. He admitted downloading the other music illegally.
"We've set a precedent with the first case. There'll be more cases said Gerd Gebhardt, president of the federation.
He said surveys showed that most Germans knew that obtaining digital music from KaZaa and other peer-to-peer networks was mostly illegal. Surveys showed awareness of this at 79 percent, the highest in Europe.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the Germans, with their penchant for inventing and organising, are major contributors to the internet for better and for worse. Last month a German trade-school student was arrested for devising and releasing the Sasser virus on the Internet.
Web users who have signed up for high-speed DSL links by the hundreds of thousands routinely chat about how they have downloaded movies illegally and sales of blank CDs and DVDs to receive them have risen fast in Germany. The blanks are sold in most supermarkets.
The recording industry estimates 600 million songs were illegally downloaded in Germany in 2003 from the Internet.
While the industry maintains that downloaders are skinflints who refuse to spend money in music stores, many downloaders portray themselves as tasters who often listen to a song just once, find they do not like it but leave it on their computers for others to try.
Subject : German news