New rules for illegal downloading in Germany

December 2006

Internet, record labels

In Germany, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries has introduced draft legislation limiting fines for private downloading to a cap of 50 euros ($64) per case in Germany. Zypries said that ”the limitation for the first warning letter from a lawyer ensures that we don’t exaggerate in punishing copyright breaches”.  The maximum applies only to those who download without intending to resell it.  To fine the downloaders, the music industry has been using a provision of German law that allows lawyers to force wrongdoers to write apologies, and then to pay the law firm’s entire bill.  In future, the law firms would only be able to charge members of the public 50 euros per incident for this service. Zypries also said that the darft legislation would also increase powers to prevent product piracy, enabling German customs agents to rapidly destroy counterfeit goods that imitate famous brands.

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