Is free online streaming of paid content now officially illegal in Germany?

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I have recently came across this article on internet https://frankfurt-expat.com/2017/11/20/streaming-movies-becomes-illegal-in-germany/ which states that free online streaming of movies or other paid content is not officially illegal and before it was a "grey area".

Is this actually true? If so how is it even possible?

I mean I often watch my favorite series on websites which also host free content, so how are authorities going to know that when I visited that site I actually viewed paid content for free or just free content. The videos hosted there have external links and the URL often doesn't give away the name of the content in it. So the latest episode of Game of Thrones might me hosted on something like www[dot]oload[dot]co/asdfgRS52f.

 

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Authorities stopped caring about this a long time ago. They do not monitor the Internet traffic for this. Only time people get caught is when using peer2peer technology (like BitTorrent - sometimes also "streaming" services use these) because then the content creator's lawyers can just join the peer2peer swarms and store every IP address they see. Then they make a civil claim for damages because you distributed/offered it worldwide to countless users (as is the p2p principle).

 

Now, this doesn't make streaming on pirate sites legal, it's just that:

- since it isn't p2p the lawyers cannot record it

- the authorities don't monitor the Internet exchanges for this

- if you were caught the content creator cannot really claim much damage because he only lost 1 sale (as you are not distributing)

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The old "my TV aerial wasn't working so I just watched FTA programs via a website" defence? :P

 

For some reason, your question also got me thinking - if F1 is FTA on RTL, but someone in Germany watches a hokey Sky (UK) F1 channel feed, they are watching an event that is on a FTA channel in Germany but with commentary in a difference language. Which is similar in principle to the scenario you are describing. 

 

I know that in the UK streaming has become seen by the authorities as one of the most abominable of crimes, and the press are always pushing stories of people who have been locked up for selling pre-configured Kodi devices with a warning from the UK's copyright protection agency (called FACT) that the buyers/users could be swept up in their investigations and that strong examples will need to be set. 

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