Three songs and you are disconnected from cyberspace??? Not in Germany where the industry may ‘turn piracy into profit’

Sandra Schmitz, Thorsten Ries

Abstract


Musical and cinematographic works are shared on a large scale via the Internet, often disrespecting copyrights. State initiatives seek to curtail online copyright infringements in different ways; the latest being graduated response schemes, where the alleged infringer is initially warned twice before he is sanctioned. In this context questions arise inter alia as regards the identification of the actual infringer, information rights of the rightsholder, reliability of tracking methods or judicial review of the allegations. In this context, it is of some interest to see how these questions are dealt with under similar regimes. This paper outlines how these questions and online copyright infringements in general are targeted under German civil law and how this has become a profitable tool of the music and film industry, in particular following the introduction of further information rights by the Enforcement Directive. It critically evaluates the recent developments in Germany and argues for a more restrictive interpretation of the relevant provision of the German Copyright Act.

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