Germany: Internet Pirates To Cause Millions In Damages To Record Industry

[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.

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