Are We All Pirates? (Part 4)

7/24/2012 11:42:51 AM users face trouble


A similarly grey zone in copyright infringement fall on movie and TV streaming portals, in which movies and TV shows can be watched, sometimes even before it reaches local theaters. We take our observations to, the most popular video streaming portal in Europe, which was shut down in June 2011, ending with the operator's arrest. In this case, criminal charges were laid down by the GVU; it was their third attempt after two unsuccessful claims in the previous years. And they already have their sights on 292 other web portals, 128 of which are still active. Among them are 38 streaming services such as Movie2k and’s successor,, as well as 64 file hosting sites (RapidShare including).

After's death, the legal situation of its users changed gradually. While the proclamation of sentence against the operator swings between 21 months on probation and 41 months of imprisonment, Judge Mathias Winderlich of the Leipzig district court has also raised the question on whether the act of viewing the stream should also be punishable. On his point of view, the temporary copy saved during streaming is also an infringement of copyright, which basically agrees to the GVU's own opinion on the matter - since the movies linked on are already illegal copies, viewing their streams should also be considered illegal. "A copy that was once illegal cannot turn into a legal one", said. Judge Marion Janke. There are judges with differing opinions, citing section 44a of the German Copyright Act that allows temporary distribution for the purpose of viewing. But this act is only applicable if the source is legal -- for, this is not even remotely close.

The judges are still at odds about the question on whether other courts would give a ruling similar to the Leipzig district court's. Attorney Thomas Stadler writes in his blog, Internet- Law, that the opinion of one district court judge gives very limited decisive value for the juristic discussion, especially since no reasons were given for the judgment against a user, but just a verbal comment within the scope of a completely different juristic process. Marion Janke, on the other hand, proposes that a few judges would consider these arguments. In her opinion, judges had been pronouncing sentences directly to users who had received the cease-and-desist orders. In their eyes, every Internet user should know that the latest films cannot be available free of cost in the Internet by legal means. And one who is unsure must simply stay away from such sites.

After Leipzig's interpretation, Dresden's district attorney’s office announced the implementation of criminal procedure against premium users of, who could be identified by their payments through PayPal. The result could be charges amount to hundreds of Euros.

Description: Movie2k


So what does this all mean to us? It's really the fact that there is a way for people to find out what we've seen, and that what we've seen may really be an illegal copy. In the case of, anonymous users may be able to get away scot free, because the IP could not be traced as effectively. But people are already putting their eyes on streaming sites such as Movie2k and, and improved IP tracking tools may be introduced as early as the coming months (according to Christine Ehlers of the GVU). It's perhaps better to simply avoid this side, because - while this is still essentially a grey area — it might turn dark closer and easier, as evident by the German court's interpretation. It may be hard to know just WHAT and WHICH exact content may be a copyright-infringed copy; you can't tell if a YouTube video is legally uploaded or not, for instance, but knowing the legality of the whole site and the general understanding of its content's source is important. That will help you avoid sites that may possibly land you a lawsuit.

Piracy in numbers

Despite the innumerable illegal & free offers on the web, the Isfyf Rooming - but with big differences

Lucrative entertainment industry

As compared to 2005, the revenues from entertainment mediums has increased - the better the digital sales, the bigger the increase

Sources: PWC, IFPI; worldwide increase from 2005 to 2010
Sources: PWC, IFPI; worldwide increase from 2005 to 2010

Contents with file-hosts

Movies form the predominant part of file-hosting contents - not surprising, since they are hardly available legally in digital form

Description: Sources: Envisional 2011

Sources: Envisional 2011

Pecentage of illegal content for each media

File hosters always advertise themselves as digital storage space for legal data. A random sample analysis shows that it's truly just wishful thinking.

Pecentage of illegal content for each media
Pecentage of illegal content for each media

Security against cease& desist letters

How can i avoid unwarranted cease-&- desists letters?

Since errors can arise during tracking and allocation of IP addresses, you should save your IP addresses in a log file. Activate the log push in the router for this (in FritzBox, it's under "System settings"). This function saves your IP, the usage times, the data volumes as well as devices reported in the WLAN. Thus you can later refute false accusations. You should additionally secure your WLAN by changing the password in the router settings. Thus you are protected from unauthorised usage, like by the neighbors. If your router is not secured, you can be arrested as a WLAN operator.

How do i respond to cease-&-desist?

If the cease-&-desist is unauthorised due to the IP data of the router, you must contest the claim in due time with evidence to that effect. To ensure that the phrasing is crystal-clear, you should employ a specialised attorney to write the letter. In the case that the cease-&-desist is warranted, you also need him to rephrase the most often formulated declaration of cease-&-desist in such away that you do not suffer from any incalculable juristic consequences. For example, if it only concerns one song, this only should be the subject matter of the cease & desist, but not the entire album.

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