Details are sketchy but it appears the District Court in Hamburg issued a temporary injunction against the administrator of an unnamed server and according to the IFPI in Germany, “ordered the said operator to take his computer off-line for as long as the range of music files offered for download via the server contains illegal files.”
The IFPI state Court costs of 5,000 euro ($6,900) and possible penalties of up to 250,000 euro ($345,000) and up to 6 months in prison
However, as Heise points out, the operator was only ordered to prevent the distribution of one specific album by one specific band and was by no means a blanket order.
Peter Zombik of the German division of the IFPI was quick to put a positive spin on the decision, “We shall in future take legal action against any operator of a P2P network server who makes tracks available illegally.”
Of course, eDonkey servers generally carry no copyright material, and at most only metadata, such as that found in .torrent files. Unfortunately, the Court decided that the administrator of the server had “willingly and in a causal fashion assisted in the illegal disturbance”, without him actually having been directly involved in copyright infringement.
Furthermore, it was decided that by simply receiving a notification from a copyright holder regarding a potential infringement taking place on the site, it should be enough to alert the administrator to the fact that action was required and that he should have “taken effective measures” to prevent such things from happening.
In comments to heise online, the IFPI’s Stefan Michalk suggested that in future they would be taking a “new direction” in Germany by holding ISP’s to account for the infringing activities of their customers, in an effort to build on their recent success against Belgian ISP, Scarlet.
According to the IFPI, Germans downloaded 374,000,000 tracks from P2P networks in 2006.
Update: Article updated to show eDonkey server, not indexing site