Scotties Toy Box

January 2, 2012

Retired, Computerless Woman Fined For Pirating ‘Hooligan’ Movie | TorrentFreak

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:55

Retired, Computerless Woman Fined For Pirating ‘Hooligan’ Movie | TorrentFreak.

Retired, Computerless Woman Fined For Pirating ‘Hooligan’ Movie

Despite not owning a computer or even a router, a retired woman has been ordered by a court to pay compensation to a movie company. The woman had been pursued by a rightsholder who claimed she had illegally shared a violent movie about hooligans on the Internet, but the fact that she didn’t even have an email address proved of little interest to the court. Guilty until proven innocent is the formula in Germany.

hooligansThe just-concluded case in Germany demonstrates perfectly that in some jurisdictions the standard way to deal with a file-sharing claim is guilty until proven innocent.

At 09:10 during a cold January morning in 2010, the defendant in the case says she was tucked up in bed. A movie copyright holder, however, insists the retired single woman was illegally sharing files on the Internet.

The settlement letter sent to the woman by the copyright holder stated clearly that on January 4th she’d been using the eDonkey network to share a violent film about hooligans. For this offense she must pay compensation of around 650 euros or face court, they said.

Like so many claims of this nature, the accusation was problematic. Although she previously subscribed to a 2-year Internet and telephone package, six months earlier the woman had sold her computer and didn’t even maintain an email address. After refuting the allegations of the rightsholder, the case went to court.

The Munich District Court handled the case, and heard evidence that not only is the woman computerless, she lives alone and doesn’t possess a wireless router either. How the alleged offense could have been carried out even by a third party remains a mystery.

Nevertheless, none of the above protestations were of interest to the court. Despite the fact that the copyright holder and/or their tracking company could have made errors, or that the woman’s ISP could have identified her account incorrectly, none of these avenues were examined.

“Normally the copyright holder has to prove who did the copyright infringement. As this is hard for him – because he has no chance to look into thousand houses – the courts in Germany alleviate this burden of proof,” explains Christian Solmecke, a lawyer with Wilde Beuger Solmecke, the law firm that defended the woman.

Solmecke told TorrentFreak that initially all a copyright holder has to do is show that a protected work has been traded via a specific IP-address, then the accused has to prove their innocence.

“In the next step the defendant has to prove, that neither he nor anyone else who had access to his internet account did the copyright infringement. In my opinion our client has proved that fact. If you have no computer and no W-LAN, there has to be a failure in the backtracking of the IP-address,” he added.

The bottom line in Germany is that account holders are responsible for everything that happens on their account and if they can’t prove their innocence, they are found guilty. The woman must now pay just over 650 euros in damages to the copyright holder.

There can be little doubt that German law is tipped heavily in the favor of rightsholders. Little surprise then that Germany is without doubt the worst place in the world for pay-up-or-else-schemes. So how often are people wrongly accused?

“Every second person tells me, that he or she appears to be wrongfully accused,” says Solmecke. “Some of them lie even to their lawyer but most of them tell the truth. From my point of view, there has to be a big mistake in some of the different backtracking-systems.”

So for now the formula for rightsholders seems incredibly simple.

6 Comments »

  1. Hi Scottie;
    In most tv dramas, they talk about motive, means, and opportunity. If a suspect fits one, they seek to convict in 22 minutes or less. But, it seems they need even less in this case.
    Risking such a suit, I looked up the movie “Deutsche Hooligans” and found excerpts and even the whole movie easily. I am not sure just what the movie is about, but it seemed far outside the interests of a retired woman. 25 yr.old woman, maybe. 65 yr.old???
    Perhaps this is the next step of evolution: first corporations are really people. Next: they are flawless. Then?….godhood?
    Well, I guess I have to go now. Off to worship at the shrine of General Motors, then a pilgramage to worship at the shrine of the god of plastic pieces. May he of the PolyAmide be ever forgiving…..
    (I saw a thing on Tumblr: Sarcasm: Because choking the hell out of someone is illegal.)

    hugs!
    randy

    LOL It was hard to believe that any court really found that verdict. But them again money talks. Have a great night of worship. Hugs

    Like

    Comment by wordsthateffect — January 2, 2012 @ 18:35

    • Isn’t that woman able to read a newspaper or to look at a TV???
      If si she would have known, to a customer advice center – any a bit bigger town has got at least on. one even can get a lawyer there for just 26 €.
      But if one doesn’t care a bout a monkeys a.., it gets stressing and expensive.
      I know it is hard to say: But Munich belongs to Bavaria. And even the judges might be a bit more stupid than elsewhere.
      hugs

      Hello Miles. I thank you for writing in on this. Was it in the news over there? Did she appeal. I hope she did and she wins, and sues those who sued her. Oh and thanks for letting me know about the blog not looking right. Your right it doesn’t matter which browser you use, it is doing it with all of them and to me also. I changed the theme, but it seems those posts that are messed up will stay that way. But if you click on the perm link for the posts, it displays the post in the way it should. Please keep letting me know what it doesnt’ look right. many Hugs

      Like

      Comment by miles — January 3, 2012 @ 14:39

  2. My God, what the heck are they doing???? I’m not quite sure how we got to this point where all power is in the hands of corporation and that power is unquestioned by everyone. And they even get to turn the entire concept of justice on its head. But one question – without a computer how can she have an IP address? And yet that is still not enough for the courts?

    Hugs,
    Evan

    Hello Evan. According to the report it did not matter she did not have the internet address, simply was enough the company said she was guilty and the court accepted their word on it. But Carlitos had a point. He says it just doesn’t sound like the Germany he knows. So I guess we need to ask Miles and Nikki and other Germans what the story is and how it happened. Hugs

    Like

    Comment by Evan — January 3, 2012 @ 03:22

  3. Hello Scottie,
    Germany is known as a modern democratic country. I have never heard of their justice system working as described in this article, i.e., guilty until proven innocent. I feel sure that there has to be more to this story than is reported here.
    –carlitos

    Hello Carlitos. Thanks for your comment as it made me think. Lets get the German members of my Toy Box to tell us how it is and what happens. Hugs.

    Like

    Comment by carlitos — January 3, 2012 @ 10:43

  4. Hi all,
    I do not understand this.
    Normally, the burden of proof lies with the claimant in Germany. But, as Miles says, in Bavaria the clocks tick differently.
    But the verdict will not be final, because there is still the possibility of “appeal trial” and “audit trial”.
    Nikki

    Thank you Nikki. There is nothing better than first hand knowledge. I am glad this blog is seen all over the world as I learn from the many people who come here to share with us. Hugs

    Like

    Comment by nikki — January 4, 2012 @ 04:05

  5. And, though words may not flood, torrents certainly do.
    One strategy that is certainly being used occasionally is to throttle or temporarily slowdown those who are using torrents.
    Among these internets’s progress as an internet entertainment facility continues to be the
    speediest.

    Like

    Comment by unblock pirate bay — October 17, 2013 @ 17:34


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