Accused of torrenting copyrighted material

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Lawyer's cost time, money and energy.

 

Not as much as bad advice from people who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. Like this:

 

 

very difficult to prove that the mail arrives at destination these days

This is just misleading garbage. Do you what the German laws are regarding what standard of delivery applies to what type of documents? I only know the rules that apply in a common law jurisdiction, so I can't comment here. That is why she needs a German lawyer, and not some random internet gibberish.

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Actually it's not internet jibberish. If a letter is not sent with some sort of recorded delivery then, in the eyes of the law, it didn't arrive, or put the other way round if your letter is supposed to be part of some legal process then always send mit einschreiben (ideally with the ruckschein too).

 

In any case lawyers are still best placed to help with legal questions, not random monkeys at keyboards somwhar on de interweb.

 

Edit: And I'd love to know which monkey gave -1 to my post above, and why. :rolleyes:

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The letters just came in the regular normal post. We have made no contact with the company, and my husband refuses to see a lawyer as he's convinced its a scam, plus we dont have any spare cash for lawyers fees:-(

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This we also ignored and nothing has come since then. Scam or real? I just dont know...

 

You have to be very careful ignoring letters demanding payment in Germany. However legal process can only start after you have received with recorded delivery a letter demanding payment and saying that process will begin after a 2 week (usually) period. Should you receive a letter like this then take it very seriously and act immediately to get professional legal advice, do not ignore a letter like this.

 

This entire thread is about the legal basis for the claims being made against you and I've lost the overview a bit but I believe that plenty of people have paid up at least something.

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Actually it's not internet jibberish. If a letter is not sent with some sort of recorded delivery then, in the eyes of the law, it didn't arrive, or put the other way round if your letter is supposed to be part of some legal process then always send mit einschreiben (ideally with the ruckschein too).

Are you absolutely certain that this is true in Germany? For this type of litigation? What if a process has not begun and this is a preliminary invitation to settle? Bearing in mind that patsywest may take your advice and rely on it, possibly to her detriment? If you are wrong in this, has she now cause to sue you for giving advice that may be taken as having a professional basis?

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No, she has no basis to sue me or anyone on TT because we're just monkeys behind keyboards but still I've been through this process a couple of times in my years in Germany and have friends who are lawyers. If what I posted is the absolute last word in legal certainty I can't say but you can certainly deny receiving letters that were not sent recorded delivery, and lawyers know this. The process is pretty clear, after all this is Germany, these things are defined.

 

Still, as I posted above you have to be very careful ignoring demands for payment and should you choose to do so then you'd better be sure the claim against you has no merit whatsoever. I merely state what the process for recovering money is, from my experience, not that any claim has any merit at all.

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Still, as I posted above you have to be very careful ignoring demands for payment

You are right, and this is good advice.

 

 

No, she has no basis to sue me or anyone on TT

But this is wrong. You can always sue. Always. And holding yourself out as an expert on something is as good a ground as any. So the only legal advice I ever give is: go and see a (German) lawyer.

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She could sue.. but she would loose. So whats the point..Not to mentione she would have to find a lawyer that would actually agree with her

and take on the case.

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The 2 letters we have received have come in the normal post.

IF we are sent a Registered/Recorded letter that must be signed for then that puts the whole thing on a different footing.(Can I refuse delivery/to sign I wonder?)

So for now we are sitting tight..

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Listen, patsywest. What are you looking for here? A solution? Definitive advice? Mental comfort? Noone on this forum can offer you any of those. If the original letter came from a law firm, they will proceed against you if it's in their interest, i.e. if they think they can make money. None of this pseudo-legal talk will make any difference to that. You have two options. You can either seek professional advice which might help put the matter to rest, one way or the other, or, you can do nothing and keep worrying about it for another couple of months. It's up to you.

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The next letter you receive will probably be sent recorded, and then they'll be following procedure to start proceedings - two warning letters then a final demand. If you do not respond within the time that third letter gives you then you will be automatically at fault and the law firm will have a claim against you and you have no defence.

 

If I were you, patsywest, I'd start thinking about your defence. Do not contact the law firm who is sending you these letters yourself, it's very easy to make matters worse by saying the wrong things, but think carefully and prepare what you will do if/when that letter arrives, which it very likely will. Contact lawyers mentioned on this board or this thread, explain your case, ask them for initial advice, ask them if they'd represent you and what precedent has been set and what your chances are. This will most likely be free. Best be prepared to limit the damage and find a settlement agreeable to everyone.

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She could sue.. but she would loose.

I wonder how you know that? Anyway, it doesn't matter. In civil litigation, "winning" and "losing" are rarely the point. All you need is a chance of winning, and a mark who can pay you off.

 

 

Not to mentione she would have to find a lawyer that would actually agree with her

and take on the case.

Whyever not? I'd have done it, way back before that gypsy woman gave me a soul. If we went the distance and I won, I'd have made my reputation. And if they settled, as they usually do, I'd get my costs. If they refused to settle, and I lost in court, I'd have at least made a splash as a ballsy young terrier. For a lawyer, there's rarely a "bad" case.

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The next letter you receive will probably be sent recorded, and then they'll be following procedure to start proceedings - two warning letters then a final demand. If you do not respond within the time that third letter gives you then you will be automatically at fault and the law firm will have a claim against you and you have no defence.

 

This is not true. There is no need for warning letters, final demands or registered letters. Once they have delivered their initial claim they are entitled to place their evidence before the court to obtain summary judgement. If the court believes there is a case to answer they can initiate proceedings, which may even be an immediate judgement against the alleged perpetrator and invite them to submit a defence to strike out the case. Clearly their initial case is reinforced (and they may save money and reduce any legal risk) if they can show multiple opportunities for the defendant to respond, or certified delivery of papers prior to approaching the court, but these are by no means required in German law.

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Hmmm, that's interesting. Experience says that the process I describe is the one that is followed. I know that in criminal cases what you say is correct, the Polizei (or whoever it is, this has never happened to me but I know someone that this has happened to, actually he was caught drunk on a bike) just pops a letter in the post, doesn't care if you get it or not, and the process is started.

 

In civil cases I'm less sure about what you say - I can tell you that from experience if papers arrive from a court for a case about which you have had no warning then you can simply send the Wiederspruch back to the court, tell the claimant to bugger off (best get a lawyer to do this for you, cost not great but gives a much greater impact) and that's it, my experience is even documented on TT where I sought advice ;). A slight difference in our case from patsywest was we agreed to pay the amount we owed as it was a fair claim, we just didn't realise the idiot who was claiming it was writing to an old address and we weren't getting his letters. He started proceedings without ensuring we knew what was going on and ended up paying for the beginnings of the process he started.

 

All that being said patsywest is still in a fairly precarious position. If my assertion is right she'll be given one more chance to pay, a chance she cannot deny receiving, if you're right then she could already be in deep trouble. Either way she'll need urgent legal advice which she should start researching now while she has some time.

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In civil cases I'm less sure about what you say ...

I'm not surprised. In our system it took six years of law school and two of practice to even begin to make this sort of assertion.

 

I wish you lot would stop to think about what you are doing. What are you trying to achieve here? All of these anecdotes and guesswork are only going to confuse this woman and make her either panic (perhaps without reason), or give her a false sense of security (also perhaps without reason). The only statement that you can safely make - for her sake - is your last. Go and get proper advice.

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To anyone who thinks this is a scam or hoax:

Anyone can begin a Mahnverfahren, it's a simple legal procedure.

 

If i have a website and somebody steals content i'll write a letter to you,

demanding it to be put down and pay for it. Our sister company has a lawyer only for that.

Before it enters the lawful way a Mahnung has to be done.

 

I think 5k€ is a typical sum. And it's backed up legally. Nobody should ignore such a letter if he feels he

indeed has done something that could be copyright infringement.

 

See a lawyer yourself, ONLY ADVICE. Those letters may be mean, but not a scam.

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