Links to piracy tools ruled illegal in Germany

May 2005


A German district court has ruled that German website has violated the country’s copyright legislation by linking to SlySoft’s website. SlySoft is the maker of ANYDVD, a software product that allows cracking the copyright protection found on most DVD-Video discs, and CloneCD, a tool that allows backing up virtually all of the copy protected audio CDs. The website defended itself by pointing out to the freedom of speech that is defined in German constitution, but the first-instance district court of Munich ruled that the protection of intellectual property goes before the freedom of speech. The Court decided that direct linking made finding the product much easier and thus increased the danger of copyright violations significantly. However the court also ruled that articles about tools that allow breaking copy protection mechanisms can be published legally, it is just the linking to such tools that can’t be done legally in Germany. The court ruled that¬†Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, the owner company of the website pay 500,000 euros in damages to the music industry.


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