Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
America Online

AOL Germany Found Guilty of Piracy 82

Posted by Hemos
from the yearg-matey-welcome-aboard dept.
LordArathres writes "It seems that an German appeals court has ruled that America Online is responsible if its users trade copyrighted music online. The story does not go into much detail of what ramifications this might/will have on other courts around the world. The (short) article can be found on Yahoo!" When the story was written, not much detail was known - this will be an interesting case to follow.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AOL Germany Found Guilty of Piracy

Comments Filter:
  • Actually, there has been an extremely important initiative underway to "harmonize" international civil and commercial (not criminal) law, especially involving trans-border litigation arising from the Internet.

    This treaty is called the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters [cptech.org].

    The Hague Convention involves some 47+ member nations, including the U.S., EU and China. The object of the convention is twofold:

    1. To make foreign judgements recognizable,

    and 2. To make foreign judgements enforceable.

    This is extremely significant to the techie community, and anyone concerned with the application of law over the internet. Remember the Godfrey v. Dolenga [freedomforum.org] and related cases, where a British physicist sued foreign nationals under the UK's draconian libel laws (where the burden of proof is, paradoxically, on the defendent to prove his innocence)? Godfrey obtained several favorable verdicts against citizens in the US and Canada, but was (at the time) unable to have those verdicts enforced.

    Under the Hague Convention, Godfrey might have been able to not only secure favorable verdicts in the UK, but able to enforce those verdicts on others not ordinarily subject to UK libel law.

    That's just one example. The Hague Convention does have one loophole (a fundamental public policy exemption) that nations could use to escape the enforcement of onerous verdicts. Libel cases may be an extreme example.

    However, factor in Intellectual Property -- such as the precendence laid down in Germany concerning ISPs and Copyright. The Hague Convention would make it much, much easier to corporations to take advantage of disparities between the intellectual property regimes of different nations, secure favorable verdicts by picking and choosing courts to their advantage, and then enforcing such verdicts in other nations.

    Imagine what will happen if the Hague Convention is passed (it's in draft-stage negotiations now) and free-software developers in EU countries which don't currently recognize software/business method patents are suddenly liable for patent infringement due to crappy US-PTO issued patents.

    I think it is time that the geek community sat up and started paying attention to international legal developments such as the Hague Convention -- the corporations and industry associations (RIAA, MPAA) sure are. If you want to see what they have to say, check these [uspto.gov] comments recently submitted to the USPTO about the intellectual property aspects of the Hague Convention.

    Sincerely,
    Vergil
    Vergil Bushnell

  • Ihre ganze stationieren sind gehören uns
  • That does seem to be the case in germany. That is not the case in the US. The users are generally responsible if they are distributing the material. If both of these statments are true, what happens when someone from Germany trades an MP3 with someone from the US?
  • ... to commit a bank robbery, the local transportation ministry is also guilty by having provided working roads to facilitate the crime...

  • Or 'Sie sind in der Scheiße, Pirat schweinhund'
  • It has been ruled that the German Transportation Department is liable for drivers who trade drugs by driving on buplic roads.

    Go Germany.

  • This reminds somewhat of Felix Somm, at that time European manager of Compuserve, who was found guilty by a Bavarian court. His heinous crime was that users where able to download pics of nekkid people and such and this is considered ptui and illegal within Bavarian moral standards.

    Never mind that he was acquited a couple years later by a higher court. Huge damage was done alredy.

    However, this was no match for the greatest damage that happened to Compuserve users. That was the buyout by AOL...

  • He's the one giving these kids the idea they can get gifts for free.....
  • I did, but he ate my balls!

  • Also, regarding the Hague thing, how likely is it that one country without a free speech tradition is going to get a place like the States to dampen their free speech protections?

    1. Many people have a completely unhealthy obsession with Europe. They think it's really cool to "be like Europe."
    2.Many politicians and bureaucrats would like nothing more than to gain power by weakening or eradicating our rights.
    3. Said politicians are skilled at spotting and taking advantage of popular ideas such as the afore-mentioned obsession with Europe.

  • If I were a judge, and someone filed a claim against God, I'd just say "Case dismissed", and record the reason as "Act of God".
    --
  • I think a better analogy would be to hold the federal government responsible for all drugs shipped via interstate highways.

    The illegal material was transferred along a pathway owned and operated by that entity, therefore that entity should be held responsible (according to the German court).

    Doug
  • While you're analogy to cigarettes has some validity, its important to remember the following:

    - Cigarette companies claimed that their products had no ill effects, and were not addictive. They advertised this and many people believed it for a very long time. Cigarette companies knew their products were dangerous, and thousands (millions?) of people died or had their lives shortened as a result.

    - Cigarette companies targeted advertising at minors who would buy cigarettes illegally. How many people do you know who didn't start smoking until they were eighteen? I know the cigarette companies couldn't stop kids from smoking now if they used ever dollar of profit to do it, but it is undeniable that they contributed to minors smoking.

    In contrast, Smith and Wesson makes a product that is intended to be very dangerous, albeit not to the operator. The point here is that while cigarettes and guns are both designed for killing people, the gun companies aren't making any claims otherwise and don't sell .357 revolvers loaded with a single round so you can take a few minutes off work and get some "refreshment." via Russian roulette.


    ---
  • That brings up a good point, how much did AOL contest this ruleing? Since they have merged with Time/Warner I'm sure they would love to see our packets sniffed to vaildate their content.

    Another point, I'm not sure how much it plays into this, but AOL has said time and time again that they are NOT an ISP. They are an "online service" that provides access to the "internet". Their actual "internet" is allready filtered and so to go another step would not be that big of a deal.

    I would expect real ISPs to fight tooth and nail over an issue such as this but AOL...
  • This is a graphic example of how we have too damn many laws in pretty much all western countries (I can't speak for eastern, but most of them probably do too.)

    Imagine what happens now if a US user trades files via email with a German user.

    AOL is breaking the law in Germany if they don't snoop on the email, and committing a felony in the US if they do.

    -
  • I don't know what to think. I mean, yay! someone is actually attacking aol, but then again, it really is stupid to hold the internet provider responsible for what the people do. Then agian it's stupid to hold the people resoponsible, then again, they're getting in trouble for violating stupid laws. Sigh, stupid, stupid copyright laws...
  • It's not about just about the ISP being held responsible for the actions of it's users, it's about them not doing anything about it, even AFTER becoming aware the law is being broken. "The original court ruling had also stated that ISPs could only be responsible if they did not immediately block access to pirated material upon learning of its existence on their systems. AOL claimed at the time that it had followed the court's ruling to the letter of the law, according to press reports."
  • by LL (20038) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @09:46AM (#372111)
    ISPs serve a specific role, to provide local access to internet via local access points. IANAL but as such they would be considered under the provisions of common carriers and regulated as such. On the other hand, how many people think AOL-Time-Warner congomerate could be considered a "mere" ISP. The larger you are, the more of a social/politcal/business entity you are considered and as such more/different/wierd rules (cough*MPAA*cough vs private DJ mixer) apply. To say that a corporation having market cap greater than the GNP of many small countries should not be held to the social standards of specific jurisdictions frames an interesting debate.

    This raises philosophical questions. Should a community be held to the norms or ethos of its members? If you subscribe to a service controlled under a legal jurisdictions are you unknowingly binding yourself to an external cultural norm? This is like asking if I used the US dollar I am following the American dream (corporate capitalism), the Euro's gentleman's agreement (state capitalism) or the Australian FairGo (social capitalism - though at the moment the only direction it is going is south).

    If you think you are immune from group-think then I congratulate you on your strength of mind. Psychologists have discovered than people in general try to "fit-in" wherever possible. Recall the famous experiments (link anyone?) where they monitored strangers entering an elevator but all the other occupants were instructed to face the back, then the lone holdout also faced the back irrespective of whether there was a rational reason to. Thus if AOL knowingly (by turning a blind eye), and had the power to control the practice but did not forbid music exchanges which they know is illegal, is it an (not quite accessory??) to a crime? Note that economic crims (as self-defined by being against the interests of the incumbants :-( ) are not the really the same as personal criminal acts or even civil violations. If computer companies start competing [economist.com] in other spheres, should they not be bound by similar product safety or service conduct rules?

    The law may be an ass in many countries but at least the process is (relatively) open and (given enough pockets) available (unlike proprietary code) within democratic societies. Fundamentally corporations should not be immune from the provisions that govern individuals. This should be separated from the commercial issue of whether music distribution as property right has been violated through deliberate inaction or oversight.

    Unfortunately in the long run I think things may hinder the smaller companies as the risk of negative knowledge becomes so great that only MNCs can survive. Eiterh that or MNCs become so overbearing in their zeal to avoid anti-trust provisions that users voluntarily join an independent outfit even if it is located in the South Pole .... (specualtive thought ... if someone set up an ISP on the moon, ignoring latency issues, would it be governed by any earth based legal commercial code?). Since AOL wants to do business in Germany, it has to obey the law no matter how stupid it is. If the law sucks and companies refuse to operate or provide their goods or services, then it is up to the citizens to change the law. Much like you don't want independent militaries operating in your backyard (OK so the feds want a monopoly on controlled violence), I think people much prefer having corporations under at least some form of restriction even though it may create some anomalies in the short term.

    LL

  • by cornice (9801)
    At first this seemed ironic in that a media company was suing another media company (which also happened to be an ISP) in what would definitely be viewed as a ground breaking case. Then I remembered that one way to bolster the strength of a legal position is to win a court case based on that position. I think that if AOL were purely an ISP it would have thrown everything it had at this case because it set a dangerous precedent, but since AOL is a media company it benefits more from the strengthening of copyright case law. Why isn't anyone sueing the blank CDR manufacturers for the same thing, facilitating the illegal transfer of copyrighted materials? Because that case can't be won just yet.
  • Duh, read the article, not the headline. German courts upheld a ruling against America Online.

    Why in the hell would their be an America Online in Germany?

  • I remind you that the United States, the most ideal of all nations &ltrolls eyes&gt ruled that cigarette companies are responsible for people killing themselves with cigarettes.

  • AOLS next business plan:

    Buy Germany's bandwidth pipes.
    Have AOL - Germany go out of business
    Take pipes with them.
    Let the German law makers know what it will take to get them beck.....

    That would be funnier than this ruling... ;)
  • http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=keiretsu [everything2.com]

    Give Internet Explorer a little bit of Everything [angelfire.com]...

    --

  • (I reserve the right that "we" means "we United States-ers" because /. is in the States and because I'm from the States. Don't like it, nertz to you.)

    We all know what the importance of copyright in the States, and how it's closely tied to free speech (at least in concept, being an exception [IANAL]) and how fair use is intended as an exception (to the exception) existing to keep copyright from having an adverse affect on free speech.

    But how does copyright fit into the German legal setup? Other countries' too for that matter? Places like Britain dont' have the free speech apparatus the States does. What is copyright even *for* in countries like that? What is really at stake in these countries when we are talking about copyright? I personally don't really know how to react to court rulings on copyright in countries where there may not be a free speech tradition.

    Also, regarding the Hague thing, how likely is it that one country without a free speech tradition is going to get a place like the States to dampen their free speech protections?

  • All music stealers are in the getting something returning nothing industry. All they want is to get communist spoils out of with non communist ways... i believe the middle man and the users should be in trouble. The reason ford would not get in trouble in regards to the first lame comment in this forum is because fords vehicles whole intent is to transport you.... has nothing to do with the cd. Napster and AOL happen to have the pipeline for the criminals to go though as a getaway car in a bank robbery would be charged with accessory aol and napster should be in trouble but they will do what a company sharing pirated music in china did and turn over the IP's to the government .... then the government will pick out the top couple hundred and decide who they want to send to jail. It has happened and will happen to any thief there is. No matter how you look at it if you steal you will get caught all music "sharing communitys" will get you into trouble because it is stealing music.. I am behind any government that prosecutes them for preserving their form of governing! anyone who dis-agrees with me or has a lame comment to ad in disagreement with me is probably a theif ....
  • And just imagine... if there wasn't any air then we all wouldn't be around to pirate music and AOL wouldn't be guilty... now which b*$t&rd put air around here.
  • by B00yah (213676) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @08:52AM (#372120) Homepage
    If AOL in Germany is the only branch that can be linked to this activity...hmmm...AOL==AOL/Time Warner == Warner Records == major record company going after napster. I see a double standard forming...
  • Yes, but isn't it amusing that in it's almost manic efforts to supress anything which smacks of Nazisim of fascisim, the German gov't acts begins to act in a fascist manner? Revisionist history, censorship, draconian laws....
  • by jmcneill (256391) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @08:52AM (#372122) Homepage
    "You've got lawsuit!"
  • by electricmonk (169355) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @08:54AM (#372123) Homepage
    The story does not go into much detail of what ramifications this might/will have on other courts around the world.

    Actually, this won't, or shouldn't at least, have any effect on courts "around the world," because most countries legal systems only accept precedents set by their courts under their laws.

  • So, any word yet on the impending legal battle against 3M? It turns out they've been manufacturing (for years!) a medium which has been used for its entire lifespan (and still is) to pirate software, music, and all sorts of other illegal data.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It makes sense. AOL is enabling their users to trade copyrighted works. If AOL wasn't there to all this to happen, then the music and such wouldn't be traded.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If ISPs are responsible for pirated material traded on their systems, does this mean that the users trading the material are not responsible?
  • by MoNsTeR (4403) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @09:00AM (#372127)
    AOL should just pull out of Germany. Send letters to their customers saying, "Sorry, but your government has rules our business model to be illegal. We have no choice but to discontinue our service in your nation." All other ISP's should follow suit. Then when the entire country is left without internet access, maybe the court will see how stupid its ruling was.

    Of course, this is unrealistic. But I can't imagine what else will work. I mean, they might as well have ruled that Microsoft is responsible if users of Windows use xcopy32.exe to "pirate" music.

    MoNsTeR
  • You see .. Kiddie porn doesn't hurt the pocket books of our nice corporate friends who give our government lots and lots of money so that they will pass laws that ensure that we will all stay good and happy little consumers.

  • ...will never make it into law. As soon as someone points out the old standard, that you can't hold a company responsible for what the end users do, it will drop. It's just like blaming the phone company because people do drug deals over the phone. Hell, we might as well extend it out to INSANE levels, and say that since the FBI can and does perform wiretaps, they should be sued any time the phone is used for a crime, as they COULD have prevented it.


    -Mad Dreamer
  • by Segfault 11 (201269) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @09:01AM (#372130) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does everyone have a little side of them rooting for the record industry this time?

    I doubt that this will spread to the U.S., even if it stands. Is one end of the keiretsu going to go after the other?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2001 @08:58AM (#372131)
    since he's the one ultimately responsible in the end anyway. Yes, it only makes sense to take him to court as well. If he hadn't created man, these people would not have been able to copy music illegally. Those of you that don't believe in a supreme being, you can just sue the first carbon atoms on earth or something.
  • This case sets a ridiculous precedent. It would have ISPs held responsible for the actions of their users, which would force them to closely monitor what their users do on their network.

    I am loath to have to grant yet another company too much access to my personal life and habits.

    A good example of how stupid this could get would be when an ISP is held liable because the machine of one of its Windows (or Linux, for that matter) users gets compromised and used in compromising other hosts, particularaly ones owned by the government and corporations. We all know that ISPs shouldn't have the responsibility of securing its users machines, and the ISPs know that too, but because of this, they're going to have to crack down somehow.

  • I assume it can be assumed that there is a better than average chance that this type of piracy is happening in more than just AOL Germany ranks. Anyone know offhand how many international divisions AOL has or plans to have? I've surprised they didn't try to bully Germany Online (GOL), etc. But then that would infringe on the whole America dominating all things agenda.

    1. what the? [mikegallay.com]
  • We all can't have spell check on our browsers :)
  • they shojuld make 'sol' the mexican version

    1. what the? [mikegallay.com]
  • You, sir, are a scholar.
  • the hypocricy is strong with this one...
  • In a related matter that may point to a growing chasm between U.S. and European legal treatment of ISP responsibility, a Florida Supreme Court ruled for AOL Thursday, stating that ISPs are not responsible for material created by their customers.

    I think this raises an interesting point. If you're going to make people responsible for their action online, the enforcement mechanism will almost certainly need to work through the isp. Once isp's are relieved of this responsibility, it will be much harder to catch people committing online crimes. This is because isp's willl have no incentive to check the identity of their customers, which they would otherwise need to do so that if the isp were sued, it could in turn sue the customer for breaching their agreement.

    You may argue that it is good if responsibility online cannot be enforced since you disagree with some the laws that are in place. However, this is an indefensible position. If the law should be changed, it should be changed using the democratic mechanisms that exist for this purpose. Supporting any other way would be revealing an unhealthy disrespect for democracy and setting a dangerous precedent.

  • There's no way AOL could monitor everything. If Germany wants to make it so that the cost of monitoring is more than the benefit of providing an online service, the online services will shut down. Then Germany can sit around and fall behind while the rest of the Internet-connected world laughs at them (or forgets that they exist).
  • Here is an article [heise.de] about it from the c't website. (This article is in German.)

    The interesting part is that copyright law was given priority over the Teledienstgesetz which is supposed to limit responsibility of ISPs for the activities of their users.

  • As the article doesn't give that much information you might look here [heise.de]. This (German) article does offer some more information about the case. (If you don't speak German ask Babelfish. ;))

    The most important thing to note, however, is that the case is _not_ about the Internet. The protected MIDI (!) files (no, no MP3s involved) were offered by AOL members in an AOL forum.

    But, yes, you're right if you think that German courts often make stupid decisions when the Net is involved: About five years ago the German CompuServe CEO was accused of distributing child pornography, because CompuServe operated a news server for their customers which offered some news groups in which child pornography was made available. That was one of the reasons why the so called "Teledienstegesetz" was created: It should protect the ISPs, so that they were no longer responsible for the crimes their users commit. But this ruling against AOL stated, that copyright is more important than the "Teledienstegesetz" - as the reasons for this decision aren't available yet we have to keep wondering what the "Teledienstegesetz" is for if not for protecting ISPs.
  • This is a good post. Factually correct and he included actual links to support his "factually Correect" opinion. This is why the Karma Cops have given him +2 on his post. We also provided him +5 karma to his account.

    See it works both ways.

    Please post "Factually correct" and non inflammatory posts.

    Thank you,

  • Considering that "the first carbon atoms on earth" are still on earth (Law of the Conservation of Matter), those using the first carbon atoms owe me a lot of money. I'm rich.
  • Actually, it's German law that forbids display of Nazi era symbols like swastikas etc. The goverment (and whoever else is responsible for executing it, like the people who evaluate games) is just following it. Not sure if those laws make sense (that has been discussed before, over and over again), if they restrict freedom of speech too much, but they're not unique to Germany. The French have similar laws, as an example.
  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @09:59AM (#372145) Homepage Journal
    Hey maybe if users use xcopy32.exe to make illegal copies of Microsoft software then Microsoft should sue themselves! :)

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Is it just me, or does everyone have a little side of them rooting for the record industry this time?

    Yep. I'm rooting for Time Warner! Err, I'm rooting for AOL/Time Warner. No, wait... I'm rooting for AOL/Germany.

    Seriously, why on earth would I be rooting for the recording industry in this case?
  • by dattaway (3088)
    going for -1, bitch troll?
  • Basic common sense indicates that the ISP has no control over their users' actions. They provide a network over which people can communicate, and nothing more.

    The court saying that an ISP *is* actually liable for the actions of their users can hardly be justifiable...

    Perhaps this is an important trend... First, lawsuits against ISPs for facilitating copyright infringement will be won in several major countries worldwide. Once a precedent is set, ISPs will realize that the only way in which they can continue to operate is by implementing technical restrictions into their services that attempt to stop the transfer of media files.

    Media companies know that they can't go after every individual trading copyrighted content; it's not practical, and there is no money in it. Thus, they will put great amounts of effort into suing ISPs...

    Given that AOL is owned by a media company, I wouldn't be surprised if AOL wasn't too eager to defend itself. It's probably looking for an excuse to begin restricting what people can and cannot do with their internet connections. Every ISP will follow in the next few years, and it will not end until the internet is just a point and click version of TV...
  • any kind of official unification or synchronization is just bad news.

    Can you give a brief precis of why? For bonus marks, use the phrases "black helicopters", "chemtrails" and "accursed sinister foreign monkey jabbering UN devils".

  • Let's see if I remember my classes in constitutional law: Here in the Netherlands it says right in the constitution that no act of speech (and that includes publication in any form) shall be subject to inspection prior to being made public. However there is a neat little subclause that says that after publication such acts are subject to all normal liabilities under criminal and civil law.

    As an example: the government can not forbid the publication of racist pamphlets, however once published the authors can be sued under article 137 sub c of the criminal code for defamation of a group of the population (article 137 basically deals with slander or libel, and sub c expands this to entire groups not individuals).

    As far as copyright goes we're not much different from the States. Copyright term is however limited to 50 years after the death of the original author. As an interesting aside, this is how the government suppressed publication of 'Mein Kampf': They confiscated the copyright as 'enemy property' after the liberation, thus preventing publication until 1995.

    Mart
  • The current law iirc is that an ISP is not responsible for what there users do, if they are not aware of it. So, perverts in Florida can trade their kiddie porn if AOL doesn't know about it, but once it is found out, they must put a stop to it.
  • I really wish that this will be a start to bringing down the evil AOL empire
  • Perhaps AOL--Gremany should just shutdown entirely and explain to the people that they cannot do business under those conditions.

    Then make sure that they take down every other greman isp as well "Whoops!, they're trading illegal MP3s as well". This includes the isps that music industry uses as well.

  • There was just a ruling [salon.com] in Florida that says the opposite.

    The state Supreme Court said Thursday that federal law shields America Online Inc. from illegal transactions _ in particular, the sale of child pornography

    If the courts in the states determine that AOL is responsible for illegally traded copyrighted material, this will send a nice message that child porn is tolerated, but not trading mp3s.
  • Yes, but isn't it amusing that in it's almost manic efforts to supress anything which smacks of Nazisim of fascisim, the German gov't acts begins to act in a fascist manner?

    Actually, this should more accurately be termed "authoritarian" rather than "fascist"; but it is strange. I have been told by German people that there is a lot of shame over the actions of their nation. Perhaps they are trying to make an atonement of some kind?

  • But earlier today AOL was not responsible for their users trading kiddy porn (not the germany division involved in the case mind you)... but it's responsible for their users trading (c) material? Is it just me, or does this just make no sense at all?
  • hey, you stole my sig!

    Or do you read alan's on-line diary too?


    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • Now since when does AOL have juristriction over its members behavior? They should not be held directly responsible for their users and be penalized for it. Punish the people and not the company, like with Napster. I find this pretty scary the German ruling, gives the precedence that AOL can come along and say, "hey, we don't like that you're using on your computer, please leave" and there are no legal ramifications. Of course TOSes are complex and such for that. As for the ruling in other courts, Germany belongs to the EU, so there MIGHT be some ramifications of this ruling on other countries, but I don't know EU law, and at this moment, its very shady. But outside the EU, it shouldn't even be a ripple. Germany is a different country, with its own laws, own customs ("we're civilizing the barabarian east"), and traditions, (see customs). People may look at the ruling, but its precedent can't be used in their countries as basis in court. They can only use their own laws. The Question of our Generation: Where were you when Napster shut down? 3-14-01
  • Oh I don't know, they've sent me lots of free coasters!
  • They're suing a company that makes records for allowing users to pirate them. Anybody else see something weird here?

    (AOL/TimeWarner is the parent of Warner records)

    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!

  • I mean, they might as well have ruled that Microsoft is responsible if users of Windows use xcopy32.exe to "pirate" music.

    Or that General Motors is responsible if someone uses a Chevy to commit a bank robbery.

    Or that Smith & Wesson are responsible if someone uses one of their shotguns to kill someone.

  • Along the same lines, what if I call someone and threaten them? Can the phone company be sued because I used their phone service to do something illegal?

  • Alot of things are illegal and therefore many organizations don't operate in Germany.

    Court ruling should *not* be effected by business models, if they were I have great plan for an import business which involve some Colombian druglords.
  • There's no way AOL could monitor everything. If Germany wants to make it so that the cost of monitoring is more than the benefit of providing an online service, the online services will shut down. Then Germany can sit around and fall behind while the rest of the Internet-connected world laughs at them (or forgets that they exist).

    Well, as AOL is the only online service in Germany that is offering and advertising their own closed content and services, that won't be that much of a problem. (And the ruling is about that closed content, and not about the Internet.) And if that really should happen I have to repeat what was already said above: Germany (and the rest of the world) would be far better off without AOL. ;)
  • Or that the operators of a file indexing and sharing service with a couple of million users was liable for copyright infringement committed using their service.... Oh, wait. That's already been done. Nevermindthen.
    -RickHunter
  • The real bad thing is, when it happens to one ISP it must happen to every ISP. But I don't believe this stupidity will last long. There are enough higher courts in Germany and AOL has enough lawyers...
  • That is a very good point...(well your first one anyway - CDR's are already subject to a 'copyright tax' in Germany).
  • At least in case of MS and in case of FORD there are other legitimate uses for the product they release. There is no other legitimate purpose for a gun then to kill people. So FUCK YOU BITCH
  • As I have whined about many times (both here on Slashdot and in the RW) growing globalism is going to be a *big* problem. We need to kill this stuff before it has the chance to go any further. Everyone should encourage their own respective government to take a stand on national sovereignty and independence. There's nothing wrong with a little goodwill and some free trade but any kind of official unification or synchronization is just bad news.
  • There is no other legitimate purpose for a gun then to kill people.

    When did clay discs and paper targets become people? How about animals? What about wounding people, is that "legitimate?" There are plenty of legitimate uses for guns out there that don't involve killing people. Just because you don't take part in these activities, that doesn't mean others don't enjoy them.

  • I remind you that the United States, the most ideal of all nations ruled that cigarette companies are responsible for people killing themselves with cigarettes.

    Hey! don't lump the citizens in with that; that idea was pushed from day one by a bunch of greedy lawyers and bureaucrats.

  • I use mine ta open the beer . . . And sometimes for fellin' a small tree.
  • Über alles in der Net...

    Sorry, someone had to write it. Might as well have been me.

    You have to wonder about German courts, finding an online service owned by the biggest media distributor in the world guilty of copyright violations. On the other hand, you have to wonder about AOL/Time-Warner lawyers, too.

  • Dealing with the German government has always been a royal pain in the ass. It was their fault I couldn't find Wolfenstein 3D on Compuspend a few years back, too. And I think everyone would agree that the German people (And in fact all the people all around the world) would be better off without AOL...
  • What's confusing? German courts deal with German laws, Florida courts deal with Florida laws. Sometimes they look at things differently.

    Hell, to steal a line from Steve Martin, "Those Germans have a different word for everything. It's like they speak a whole different language over there!"

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

Working...