Two years in prison for downloading a movie

Germany just agreed on a new law that makes it possible to put downloaders behind bars for two years. This is if you use the movie for personal use, commercial downloaders face up to five years in prison. Germany is considered to be one of the leading filesharing counties in Europe so this law will probably have a huge impact.

This new law is adopted exactly two months after the German anti-piracy federation (GVU) busted some of the key players in “the scene”. But now it seems that not only the release groups have to worry, but everybody who tries to download something from the net that might be copyrighted. The new law comes into effect on january the 1st, 2007.

The law is widely debated and currently one of the toughest in Europe at the moment.

Patrick von Braunmühl, of the Federation of German Consumer Organisation was not pleased and said:

This sends a completely wrong signal to society. It criminalises consumers and will deeply disturb internet users

However, the German justice minister defended the law, and said:

The aim is not now to slap handcuffs on downloaders in the school playground. But if someone downloaded a film before it reached the cinemas it was obvious that they were responding to an illegal offer and breaking the law

Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman responded:

There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download

So if you steal a chewing gum in Germany you will face up to 2 years in prison? Or even 5 if you try to sell it?

We’re going to hear more about this…

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