Thursday 28 October 2010

File downloading is cheap in Germany

This blogger knows one or two people who have MP3 players, some of which include songs which may or may not have been downloaded illegally (he would prefer not to know), but he's always interested to see how much an illegal (and in Germany criminal) download would cost. Fortunately he lives in Germany and is rather pleased that the Hamburg District Court  has decided that it's only EUR 15 per download (as report in the German language Beck website).

The 16 year old infringer happily used his father's Internet connection to place a couple of titles onto a file sharing site. The court concluded that these had been downloaded around 100 times and then applied the tarifs from the German collecting society GEMA. An arbitration case between GEMA and the German BITKOM information technology association adopted a similar level.

A mere 15 Euros seems a little low when one considers the penalties in the United States. However, German law on damages doesn't like the concept of punitive damages - and merely looks at replacing the economic damage suffered by the IP rights holder. The level tends to be set at the level that an arms-length negotiation between the rights holder and a potential licencee would establish - a so-called "fictitious licence agreement". It's probable that the court in this case was influenced by the young age of the infringer.

The IPKat has also blogged this here.

The Hamburger Court's press release is here (but the case is not yet reported in full).

Guide to McDonalds Restaurants in Hamburg here.

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