No more easy times for German copyright trolls – a new legislation designed to make “dubious” business practices less possible and more transparent has just seen the green light
‘Cash settlement’ has become over the past two years a key phrase in the vocabulary of many right holders since hunting down file-sharers has become a favorite ‘sport’ that can sometimes generate easy money following heavy copyright trolling activity. The other key word is ‘intimidation’.
Well, it seems that Germany has had just about enough of this copyright trolling game exploiting the file-sharing arena and decided to make it a bit harder to play by implementing a new law designed to discourage business practices that are not exactly fair and square.
The guys at TorrentFreak came with some details about the newly introduced law after speaking with attorney Malte Dedden. The following excerpt is from their article:
“The new law changes several laws – competition law, copyright law etc. Concerning copyright law, the idea is to protect consumers against cease-and-desist [pay-up-or-else] letters that are too expensive,” Dedden explains.
“If you are caught file-sharing a movie or a music album, you might be asked by the copyright holder’s lawyers to sign an agreement to cease the illegal distribution and to pay a) the lawyers’ fee plus b) the rightsholder’s damages in order to settle the case.”
Dedden says the new law establishes certain a format for the cease-and-desist and any settlements requested.
“If certain requirements are not met, you don’t have to pay the rightsholder’s lawyers’ fees and you can claim your lawyer’s fees from him instead,” he explains.
“If the form is correct, the fees are limited to the amount calculated on a “Streitwert” (value of the matter in dispute) of 1000 euros. This would be about 155.30 Euros plus expenses.”
Dedden says that previously the “Streitwert” was estimated by the court and could climb as high as 10,000 euros.
“Unfortunately for heavy users, this new limitation applies only one time with each copyright owner. If you’re caught by Universal’s lawyers once, for example, the next time it will be more expensive, while you can still use the new rule for your first Sony infringement,” Dedden concludes.