Admonishing File Sharers

Lawyers have found a new field of business, which can become dangerous for file sharers. They are collecting evidence to identify users of illegal exchange site. Upon identification, they will be pressured to pay in order not be punished.


A true story: All of a sudden, a family’s phone bill was extremely high that demanded € 800 – € 700 more than usual. The parents of Scooter (14) supposed a manipulation of their phone line had occurred and filed a complaint to the police. The police picked up the family computer and implemented a criminally technical examination. The parents should have first explored how their teen has been using the computer. They would have noticed suspiciously high data transferals with hundreds of gigabytes.
This negligence can quickly become pretty expensive. Only a few days later, Scooter’s parents received a letter from a law firm blaming Scooter for participating in illegal file sharing. They presented several exhibits like a list of IP-addresses, nicknames, and one of his profiles in which his true address was mentioned. The attorneys demanded a declaration of forbearance, information on all traded files and damages on behalf of prominent record labels. To prevent a case in court, Scooter was to pay a flat fee of € 6,000.

If you ever receive such admonishment and it is justified, do your bank account a favor and avoid further costs. If you do not hand in the demanded declaration of forbearance, you will be risking a case in court. This implies that the attorneys might assume a much higher damage in court than now requested. Upon loss of the case, you will have to pay court fees, your attorney, and the complaining attorneys. This will very quickly end in paying several hundredEuros.

Of course, you are not obligated to surrender if you believe they cannot really prove anything. In court, the complaining attorneys will not really have to physically show how Scooter illegally shared files. A persuading chain of incidents will suffice to be sentenced to pay. It will be sufficient if all the facts of the case predominantly indicate that Scooter was the one who illegally shared files.

To avoid giving away any legal position you might have, be sure not to admit any facts. Use the phrasing “ohne Anerkennung einer Rechtspflicht” or with admitting any legal obligation. Usually out of court, it is possible to negotiate with the admonishing attorneys. But do not forget to obtain previous legal consultation because there are many black sheep who do not to proctect their client's rights but only want your money. Be sure to clarify if the record company has already complained to the state attorney because whoever “pulls” music or videos from the Internet is subject to punishment. Since Simon is already 14, he has “penal capacity“, i.e. he can be sentenced in court. Next time the police will immediately and unexpectedly knock on your door but this time by order of the district attorney …

Published on the old CMS: 2006/12/29
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,067 reads

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