Germany: Internet Pirates To Cause Millions In Damages To Record Industry
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[Berlin] The German Federal Association of the Phonographic Industry yesterday renewed its public demand for the introduction of a so-called "Rights Protection System" (RPS) for the German part of the Internet. Online music piracy in 1999 alone led to license cancellations of around 140 million Marks (65 million USD), according to the industry. In Germany alone, 800 Web sites posting illegal musical offerings were shut down on the inducement of associations of sound carrier manufacturers.
The association is now looking at technical solutions to stop about the illegal use of music on the net and wants to push through their specially developed "RPS System", which is based on a filter list and would have to be implemented by German internet providers.
This system could already be implemented in Germany since the corresponding "basic legal requirements" are in place and the net infrastructure already exists for the technical implementation, the industry said. The record industry bases its argument on a passage of legislation thrown out by the Kohl government, the so-called "Tele Services Law", according to which the provider is liable for illegal net content, provided that blocking access to the material is "not only technically possible but also economically reasonable". The URL-blocking RPS System shall fulfill both of these criteria, the record industry commented.
However Internet experts are critical of the system and regard it as technically obsolete, restricting the freedom of the user. An "electronic barrier" with which net providers could be directly targetted and controlled, is not justifiable. Criticism has also been made of the fact that the stated damages due to net piracy only represent a hypothetical value, especially since CD copiers cause higher revenue losses than piracy.