Germany Rejects Three-Strikes Piracy Plan

The German federal government has decided against embracing the Olivennes Agreement – the French model for combating illegal file-sharing activities. The French three-strikes scheme would cut off the ISP connections of repeat offenders who violated copyright by illegally downloading content.

In confidential talks between the largest German ISPs and the German federal minister of justice Brigitte Zypries, which took place last month in Berlin, the minister made it clear that she had considerable reservations with respect to the French model of capping Internet access, arguing that this was incompatible with German data and telecommunications privacy legislation.

Dr. Heinz Stroh, managing director of the German Federal Association of Music Publishers (DMV) in Bonn says that he was unable to understand the concerns voiced by the ministry of justice, seeing as it was sufficient for users to be in default of payment for their Internet connections to be cancelled.

Stefan Michalk, managing director of the German Federal Music Association (BMI) in Berlin, adds that the combination of warnings and sanctions provided a very good means of combating Internet piracy.

« Unfortunately, Germany is the only country in which no progress is being made, » he says. « The only alternative still available to companies is to take legal steps against Internet piracy. It is vital for Germany as well to lay the foundations for similar models in the near future. Otherwise the German creative industry will suffer from a clear competitive disadvantage compared with other countries. »

German industry circles do not expect any change in this position to emerge until after the German federal elections on Sept. 23, 2009, assuming that the SPD/CDU grand coalition is replaced by a coalition between the CDU and free-market FDP party.

By Wolfgang Spahr, Berlin

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