Accused of torrenting copyrighted material

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Try these 2. Both good English.

Schäfer & Schäfer, Theresienstr. 40, 80333 München : www.schaeferundschaefer.de

and also

KNIES & ALBRECHT, Widenmayerstr. 34, D-80538 München : www.new-media-law.com

I have used Knies and am happy so far with the result. George Schaefer was also very helpful, I just chose Knies because I rang him first.

It is better to act quickly. and better to pay €300 than €850 or more

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My bf received a similar letter, asking for thousands of euros in payment. He brought the letter to legal on base (he's in the military) and they told him this is not the first time someone has brought in a letter like this. It's all in German, 8-10pages long, the name of the movie he downloaded was blacked out. There is no way he downloaded the movie either because he wasn't even in Germany at the time. Legal told him NOT to sign any papers. If he did, he would agree that he downloaded the film and then whoever could come after him for payment. I'd say, keep it filed away. If someone wants to collect money from you, they will most definitely contact you again.

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I'd say, keep it filed away. If someone wants to collect money from you, they will most definitely contact you again.

 

Please read the rest of this thread for some better advice than what canadiangirl is trying to give to you.

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Hi guys,

 

Another twist to the topic of being sent a fine letter for downloading....we now live in Ireland and have just received a forwarded letter from our german address which is from Firma Boll AG in Baden-Baden.

This letter is asking us to pay €2454.52 for "copyright infringement". As we have not lived in Germany since December 2010 this letter is completely bonkers! I'm posting this just to let you all know that this letter is obviously 'doing the rounds'. We are ignoring it completely...and I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

 

Cheers!

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Hi guys,

 

Another twist to the topic of being sent a fine letter for downloading....we now live in Ireland and have just received a forwarded letter from our german address which is from Firma Boll AG in Baden-Baden.

This letter is asking us to pay €2454.52 for "copyright infringement". As we have not lived in Germany since December 2010 this letter is completely bonkers! I'm posting this just to let you all know that this letter is obviously 'doing the rounds'. We are ignoring it completely...and I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

 

Cheers!

 

If it still has to do with the letters that you received in August 2009, and have been ignoring since then, that's a very bad idea.

 

 

Hi guys, just an update on the current state of things...we have ignored both letters which came in August 2009, and have heard nothing else. My husband has always said that with dynamic IP it cant be proven that a certain film was downloaded. We have stopped downloading since then. Maybe he is right, it is scare tactics...

 

As gaijin noted above, you will have to deal with this at some point. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

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We are ignoring it completely...and I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

 

Two other TTers have said the same thing but for those of the hard of comprehension here's a third statement - ignore letters like this at your peril. It will most likely get much, much worse if you do not take legal threats seriously, even if you consider the threat totally without any merit.

 

If I were patsywest I would pay for a lawyer to send a formal response to that threat. But that's just me. You can, of course, do whatever you like.

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Hi folks,

 

I got one of these letters as well today, it's from a company called Waldorf Frommer in Munich and they represent Sony Music Entertainment.

Everything looks legit and not a scam, they got my name from Deutsche Telekom, so I assume they got it legally, and I have no way of checking the IP address on the given date, but I assume it's correct.

 

I did download the album in question from the pirate bay, so I guess I'm at fault here. What I don't like is the exuberant solicitor fees they pack on top of the fine. From what I understand they're charging me for unlawfully distributing their copyrighted material on the internet, which is not the case, I've simply downloaded it and didn't stay on long enough to seed anything. In p2p terms this is known as a hit and run. At best they have gotten my IP address from the tracker as a leecher and there is no way that anyone downloaded the whole album from me. It's besides the point right now.

 

Toytown has been my first port of call, as usual. From what I've gathered here, I should not sign the Unterlassungserklärung they've sent me, and that I should sign and send via registered post the modified Unterlassungserklärung. If I understand correctly one means that I admit breaking the copyright law knowingly and accept all the consequences, and the other (modified) says that I've done it unknowingly and will not do it again. I got the modUA from here: http://www.verein-gegen-den-abmahnwahn.de/zentrale/download/mod_ue/muster_mod_ue/index.html

 

I'm heading on holidays in 3 days and have all sorts of stress at work before I go, so this is the last thing I need. Could anyone give me a bit of advice here, I was never in this situation before. Should I hire a solicitor right away? Or can I send them the modUA and go on holidays, and worry about hiring a solicitor if/when they reply back to me?

 

Also, if I need to get a solicitor right away, has anyone heard of this guy?

http://www.filesharinganwalt.de/

He's fairly close to me (80km) and seems to be specialising in this sort of thing. Or do you have anyone else to recommend?

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In p2p terms this is known as a hit and run. At best they have gotten my IP address from the tracker as a leecher and there is no way that anyone downloaded the whole album from me.

What's relevant is that you were offering the album to the whole world free of charge. Whether it was actually downloaded by someone or how long you were sharing it for is not relevant, legally. You've shown that you're willing to do it, so on those grounds the rights holder can ask you to stop doing it.

 

 

Or can I send them the modUA and go on holidays, and worry about hiring a solicitor if/when they reply back to me?

 

Also, if I need to get a solicitor right away, has anyone heard of this guy?

http://www.filesharinganwalt.de/

He's fairly close to me (80km) and seems to be specialising in this sort of thing. Or do you have anyone else to recommend?

 

The same organization that provides the modUE template also maintains a list of recommended lawyers. Whether you need one or not is your call. Normally what they do is send a modUE, and possibly negotiate a slightly lower settlement (if you decide to pay).

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Ok guys.

This issue just happened to me, and it turns out I am out of the country, and a relative of mine received the letter.

 

I have one question.

There is a template circulating on here for the modified reply.

Is this useable in lieu of an attorney or very risky?

Alternatively would anybody know the cheapest attorney who could draft this document in Munich ?(or elsewhere if it can be done by mail contact/email).

 

One more question.

Unfortunately my relative called the number in question on the letter before I could warn him.

The relative only asked what was happening and did not admit to anything.

 

Does this screw me completely and makes me obliged to pay the full amount?

(Which btw I won't be able to pay because it's outrageously high -over 10K euros-)

 

Thanks for your reply.

This kind of issue never happened to me before and like many am a bit freaked out by it.

If my relative wasn't in Germany I would just ignore but as of now am stuck with resolving this issue.

 

Also one more question: I am not the owner of the ISP service/internet. Am I able to do the procedure (lawyer) or does the owner (my relative) have to do it?

 

Kind regards

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Hi anondragon,

 

calling them and asking for information should not be a problem.

 

The Unterlassungserklaerung has to be given by the person to whom the letter is addressed - which will be the owner of the internet connection. If your relative is the one who has the contract with the ISP and you were the one that shared the files, your relative is in an even better position to say "Without having done anything wrong in the past, I nevertheless promise to make sure that nobody uses my internet connection to share this file in the future".

DO contact a layer, just ask two or three for an offer.

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One thing makes me wonder. Just musing it a bit.

 

If a lawyer has a list of people who were connected to a BT tracker at a certain point of time they were connected to it themselves for a certain amount of time. Following their own legalese, this shows intent to commit a crime of... err, whatever internet theft runs under (regardless of financial damage). Strictly said, they are committing a crime to solve another crime, which under German law doesn't invalidate evidence regarding the second crime but still makes them implicable for the crime they committed.

 

Since the lawyer is part of a company and would be committing such a theft crime in a string of incidences, that makes it possibly punishable under §244(1) Abs 3 StGB, joint theft by gang members. There is a minimum sentence applicable to this crime even in minor cases.

 

Anyone ever heard of anyone attempting this avenue against an Abmahnanwalt who works in the download/share field?

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There is a template circulating on here for the modified reply.

Is this useable in lieu of an attorney or very risky?

The template is bullet-proof, as long as it's filled out properly (addressed to the rights holders, not the law firm; naming the works in question, not the download container; properly dated and signed etc.).

 

 

Alternatively would anybody know the cheapest attorney who could draft this document in Munich ?(or elsewhere if it can be done by mail contact/email).

List of recommended lawyers in Bayern:

 

http://www.verein-gegen-den-abmahnwahn.de/zentrale/informationen/recht/rechtsanwaelte/deutschland/bayern/index.html

 

 

(Which btw I won't be able to pay because it's outrageously high -over 10K euros-)

That's probably a mistake, unless they're accusing you of sharing a whole bunch of copyrighted works. It's certainly way, way too high for a normal Abmahnung.

 

Most of these letters say something like 'the amount in dispute is 12,500€'. That doesn't mean you have to pay that. It just means the hypothetical, potential damage of you continuing to share the files in question on the internet is 12,500€. The only thing that figure is used for is to calculate the legal fees that the law firm is entitled to.

 

Normally the letters say something like 'since the amount in dispute is 12.5k, we're entitled to legal fees of 1057.58€ and our client is entitled to damages for downloads that actually occured We COULD charge you 1057,58€ in fees + 100€ in damages, but if you pay us 900€ in the next two weeks, we'll call it even'. I didn't look up the actual fees for a 12.5k case, but you get the gist of it. The amount in dispute and the amount they want from you are two different things.

 

They love throwing around big numbers, but assuming you got a normal Abmahnung for one or two files (rather than a dozen different albums), your relative probably just misread the letter.

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One thing makes me wonder. Just musing it a bit.

 

If a lawyer has a list of people who were connected to a BT tracker at a certain point of time they were connected to it themselves for a certain amount of time. Following their own legalese, this shows intent to commit a crime of... err, whatever internet theft runs under (regardless of financial damage). Strictly said, they are committing a crime to solve another crime, which under German law doesn't invalidate evidence regarding the second crime but still makes them implicable for the crime they committed.

 

Since the lawyer is part of a company and would be committing such a theft crime in a string of incidences, that makes it possibly punishable under §244(1) Abs 3 StGB, joint theft by gang members. There is a minimum sentence applicable to this crime even in minor cases.

 

Anyone ever heard of anyone attempting this avenue against an Abmahnanwalt who works in the download/share field?

 

But does connecting to a tracker also mean they would have to download or worse upload copyright material? (which at the end of the day is what the crime is). I've not used BT for ages, but I recall I could simply download material if someone would let me, and inhibit upload completely (which would generally strangle my ability to download, but I could still see who was offering packets to me).

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But does connecting to a tracker also mean they would have to download or worse upload copyright material?

 

Depends on the software you use, but: In general, companies subcontracted to do this work also have to check whether the offered content is actually the one owned by their client. Meaning they download it once and e.g. listen to it, then observe the tracker to get a list of IPs who access that file. At least that's what was in a SPON article about a year or two ago. The singular download in itself is already criminal, whether they distribute the file or not.

 

Ah, found it: §106 UrhG, the act of downloading it basically constitutes illegally copying a protected work (that means §244 StGB isn't applicable, since it's not theft). And: attempt is punishable for §106 UrhG. Meaning simply connecting to a tracker with regular BT software would already constitute the crime. However, there's a caveat in it: "without the consent of the owner". If the owner is the client of a company doing this, it doesn't constitute a crime. However, every single "false positive", any content wrongly downloaded that does not belong to the client constitutes a crime.

 

Also, of course §33 BDSG can throw a crank into the operation of such companies. Because it's not as clear cut as some would like.

 

 

(which at the end of the day is what the crime is)

Nope, the crime is the act of copying, i.e. creating a copy of a second file. You do that by downloading. Uploading instead constitutes the crime of distribution.

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bal00 & Gaijin

 

Thanks guys.

Your answers help indeed.

 

One more question that has been bothering me.

Regardless of who shared this file and if the current issue is solved: how do I really guarantee I won't receive ANY more letters asking similar things from other money grabbing organizations?

 

This seems to me like a money-milking scheme for clueless people, but I cannot imagine having to contact a lawyer and incurring fees for every possible hypothetical fraudulent way my connection has been used.

 

Kind regards.

PS: How can they ask SO MUCH money? In every normal country, with first offence the punishment comes from your ISP and is usually 24 hours connection stop and a warning, not an enormous fine out of the blue! This is why this all seems fraudulent to me and am careful to really take this seriously or not.

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Ah, found it: §106 UrhG, the act of downloading it basically constitutes illegally copying a protected work (that means §244 StGB isn't applicable, since it's not theft). And: attempt is punishable for §106 UrhG. Meaning simply connecting to a tracker with regular BT software would already constitute the crime. However, there's a caveat in it: "without the consent of the owner". If the owner is the client of a company doing this, it doesn't constitute a crime. However, every single "false positive", any content wrongly downloaded that does not belong to the client constitutes a crime.

 

I do not think the simple act of downloading is a crime, because I can't know what I am downloading before I downloaded it.

 

I thought only distributing (uploading) was the crime.

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