During the past few weeks an estimated 30,000 Internet users received threatening letters from a lawfirm claiming that they needed to pay hard cash in compensation after illegally watching adult movies on the hugely popular streaming site
RedTube. But in a turnaround described as spectacular by a lawfirm involved in the dispute, a court has admitted that those individuals' personal details should never have been handed over.
Threatening letters from copyright trolls usually
take pretty much the same format -- You've downloaded or shared our content using BitTorrent networks and for that we will take you to court. However, it doesn't have to be that way. For the payment of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars or euros,
we can make this all go away.
Earlier this month, however, there was a new twist to this awful business. Many thousands of individuals began receiving letters from German lawfirm U & C acting on behalf of a Swiss company called The Archive
AG. Their claim was that letter recipients had watched several adult titles on the hugely popular adult streaming site RedTube.
Just to put things into perspective, that's like watching a clip on YouTube and someone coming along with a demand that
you pay them cash -- a very worrying development indeed.
Wilde Beuger Solmecke, a law firm that specializes in defending Internet users from the threats of copyright trolls, has been working hard on the case and estimates that around 30,000 people
have received these demands.
All along the lawfirm has insisted that there is no legal basis for the threats and now, quite amazingly, the court that has been dealing with the case has admitted there may have been a major screw up.
receiving at least 50 full complaints, the Cologne Regional Court has been reexamining the entire process and now, according to lawyer Christian Solmecke, the Court has made a spectacular turnaround.
Apparently, some of the judges who
issued the information decisions now -- after knowing the complete situation -- have changed their mind (or for the first time formed a complete opinion) and decided that streaming is no longer illegal, Solmecke explains.
concerned, the application of this standard would have the advantage that they will not have to worry about the legality of a platform in the future. We have held this legal opinion for a long time.
The Cologne Regional Court's decision will
be welcomed by all letter recipients but for the Court's next move we shall have to wait until at least January. The hope is that all 30,000 individuals won't have to pay a penny and that copyright troll heads will roll. Definitely one to watch.
Many thousands of Internet users set to be targeted by an adult content copyright troll can today breathe a sigh of relief. Streaming video portal RedTube, the site where targets were said to have viewed unauthorized content, has obtained an
injunction to stop the lawfirm involved sending out any more threats. Company vice president Alex Taylor says such invasions of privacy for monetary gain can never be accepted.
Threats to initiate legal action on the basis of
petty copyright infringement offenses are one of the scourges of the modern Internet. To date as many as a couple of million households worldwide have been targeted by this potentially lucrative racket.
The latest scandal to hit
Internet users involves users of streaming video site RedTube. Traditionally those simply viewing content on YouTube-like sites have been considered immune to rightsholder threats, but early December thousands of RedTube users received letters demanding
250 euros to make lawsuits go away.
The controversial episode is turning into somewhat of a scandal, not least concerning the mystery of how the lawfirm involved, U & C acting on behalf of a Swiss company called The Archive
AG, obtained users' IP address. RedTube insists it has handed no information to third parties.
With U & C warning that its first wave of 10,000+ letters is just the beginning, RedTube has been fighting back and now has good
news for its customers. The adult video site has obtained a temporary injunction against The Archive AG from the Regional Court of Hamburg, meaning that no more letters demanding payment may be sent out.
Alex Taylor of RedTube
This decision is a victory not only for the users of Redtube, but for every person who visits streaming websites. It is a clear message that the use of personal information and invasions of privacy for purely
financial interests will not be tolerated.
Update: Not illegal unless higher courts find otherwise
The controversial RedTube case in Germany has provoked an interesting response from the Ministry of Justice. Although it says the question will ultimately be answered by the European Court, the Ministry says that it believes the mere viewing of copyright
infringing streams is not illegal under current law.
With the controversy storming on the question was posed to the German Government and the Ministry of Justice has just delivered its opinion. The Ministry concludes that the mere viewing of a
copyrighted stream without permission is not in itself an act of copyright infringement.
This opinion puts the Government completely at odds with the adult companies behind the thousands of cash settlement letters sent out last year. It also draws
a line in the sand between streaming (legal) and regular downloads (illegal).
According to the Ministry of Justice's opinion the watching of illicit movies on a browser-based streaming site now appears to be permissible (temporary copy), whereas
downloading a movie which is stored on a hard drive for later viewing (reproduction) remains illegal.
However, the question of streaming legality is one yet to be decided in Germany's highest court, and according to the Government the definitive
ruling will arrive from outside its borders.
Whether the use of streaming offerings constitutes a reproduction or violates the rights of authors and holders of related rights has not yet been clarified by the supreme court, the Ministry
told Parliament, adding that the question will ultimately be answered by the European Court of Justice .
In the meantime the announcement will be welcomed by thousands of RedTube users who should be further emboldened not to hand over their hard
Offsite Article: Also in Germany: Broadband subscribers are not responsible for copyright infractions of others
Ugandan MPs have passed a nasty anti-pornography Bill that will ban miniskirts and other clothing deemed to be sexually explicit.
The Bill, widely opposed as a threat to women's rights, could also see many films and TV dramas being banned. Opponents
claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on their television channels.
According to the Daily Monitor the anti-pornography Bill outlaws anything that shows sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or
any erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement or any indecent act or behaviour tending to corrupt morals.
The Bill needs to be signed by the president before becoming law.
The Ugandan parliament's has also made an abrupt decision
to pass anti-homosexuality laws that would condemn same-sex couples to life in jail for mere touching,
The bill, rushed through by MPs, also bans the promotion of homosexuality and makes it a crime punishable by prison not to report gay people to
the authorities or to conduct a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples.
The law was first introduced in 2009, when it advocated the death penalty, but after a worldwide outcry, that was removed from the final version .
extremist MP who proposed the bill, David Bahati claimed:
This is victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil. Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way. It is because
of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks.
Frank Mugisha , a leading Ugandan gay rights activist, said:
This is a truly terrifying day
for human rights in Uganda. It will open a new era of fear and persecution. If this law is signed by president Museveni, I'd be thrown in jail for life and in all likelihood killed. We urgently need world leaders to call on president Museveni and demand
he stops this bill of hate from becoming law.
More than a million people have backed Mugisha's campaign on the petition website Avaaz to stop the laws.
Dozens of gay men are reported to have been
arrested across northern Nigeria as police begin to enforce nasty new laws that criminalise same-sex marriages and membership of gay rights organisations.
The legislation, condemned by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and human rights groups
in Europe, has come into force shortly after the Ugandan parliament passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Last week Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which provides penalties of up to 14 years in
jail for a gay marriage and up to 10 years' imprisonment for membership or encouragement of gay clubs, societies and organisations.
Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of the country's International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual
Rights, said that the legislation, hailed the Jail the Gays law, had led to mass arrests. Police in Bauchi state, she claimed, had a list of 168 purportedly gay men, of whom 38 had been arrested.
The last remaining full-time pornographic cinema in Canada will no longer be screening adult films, or any films at all, according to a report from Daily Xtra.
A sign at the front of Metro Theatre, a historic cinema on Bloor Street West in
Toronto, says the porn theatre has closed its doors for good. Though the 1930s-era theatre has been open and closed at various times during its lifespan, its phone has been disconnected and its doors and box office have not opened in days.
Sorry theatre is closed for good,
reads a note on its front door.
Pabo, an am of Beate Uhse, has opened what it describes as Europe's largest adult department store in Roeselare, Belgium.
Pabo, which is best known for its giant mail order catalogues has noted that its female customer base has been responsible
for more and more of its turnover, up from 20% to 70% So nine other Belgian Pabo stores will be converted to the female-friendly format.