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Germany Accepts Strict Piracy Law 478

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slap-on-the-wrist-that-takes-the-whole-hand dept.
A beautiful mind writes "The TimesOnline is reporting that Germany has accepted a new piracy law, currently the toughest in Europe, which comes into effect on January 1, 2007. From the article: 'Germans risk two years in prison if they illegally download films and music for private use under a new law agreed yesterday. Anybody who downloads films for commercial use could be jailed for up to five years.' Many politicians defended the new law, amongst them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: 'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'"
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Germany Accepts Strict Piracy Law

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  • by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:06PM (#14994542) Journal

    From the Fine Article:

    GERMANS risk two years in prison if they illegally download films and music for private use under a new law agreed yesterday.

    Also from the Fine Article:

    Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, said: There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download

    So, you can get two years in prison in Germany for stealing chewing gum from a shop? Cool.

    This is all rehashing rehashes, but it bears repetition lest we find ourselves slowly and finally boiled in this slowly heating water. It's more heavy-handed power and money grabbing by those who have the money and power (entertainment droids and politicians). I only hope one of the first "caught" with their hands in the downloading cookiejar is some son or daughter of one of the anointed government members. Also from the article (emphasis mine):

    The German music industry also claims to be suffering from piracy. The recording industry suffered a fall in turnover in 2005 for the seventh year in a row to 1.7 billion (1.2 billion). Sales have fallen almost 45 per cent since 1998. The German branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates that the equivalent of 439 million music CDs were copied illegally in Germany last year.

    First of all, what supports their estimates? Secondly, I've still yet to see causal studies whereby there are directly related losses because of illegal downloads. I have seen some convincing studies showing strong correlation between downloading and sales.

    • by commander_gallium (906728) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:17PM (#14994585)
      How much does it cost to keep someone jailed for two years? I'd imagine it costs more than a DVD does.
      • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:44PM (#14994728)
        How much does it cost to kill someone? If someone wants to do it it costs nothing.

        Still, those people who do murder someone should be jailed and it costs a lot of money. Thus, cost can't be a factor in prison sentences. If not cost, then what?

        Justice. It is why this law in Germany is so bad - because it is not just.
        • by dodald (195775) * on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:41PM (#14994947) Homepage
          When you kill someone you take their life, the question you should ask is how much is a life worth, not how much killing costs.

          The original statement said it costs more to jail someone than the DVD is worth.

          It did not say it costs more to jail someone than it costs to DOWNLOAD a DVD.

          Punishment should be DIRECTLY related to the cost/impact of he crime.
          • by a.d.trick (894813) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @03:05AM (#14996902) Homepage
            Punishment should be DIRECTLY related to the cost/impact of he crime.

            No it shouldn't. That's why we have murder and manslaughter. In both places the victim ends up dead, but the pushisment is different, and rightly so.

          • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @04:03AM (#14997023)
            Punishment should be DIRECTLY related to the cost/impact of he crime.

            Someone else has already pointed out the murder/manslaughter distinction, so I'll leave that. There are other distinctions too, where the end result is the same but the exact circumstances of the crime can make a large difference to the punishment.

            Even ignoring that, however, there's another factor that can greatly increase the punishment - the perceived ease of commiting the offence and likelyhood of getting away with it. If it's seen as not really being of any consequence, and is hard to detect and prosecute people, you're going to get more people thinking "why not?" and doing it. To help combat that, you make the punishment harsh; the theory being that people will think "I probably won't get caught, but if I do... it's not worth it". That's part of the reason why these laws all have such stupidly high penalties. It's not just the companies lobbying for unrealistic punishments, it's meant to bea deterrent too.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:39PM (#14994708)
      It's been said before, but if you're going to steal, create a company first and make sure to steal millions so you don't get punished. You think anybody served jail time when the music industry was convicted of price fixing? Of course not. You think anybody from Sony will serve jailtime under hacking laws for the rootkit fiasco? Of course not, unthinkable.
    • First of all, what supports their estimates? Secondly, I've still yet to see causal studies whereby there are directly related losses because of illegal downloads. I have seen some convincing studies showing strong correlation between downloading and sales.

      Of course they have because the keyword there is losses. Companies do not experience losses by piracy, meaning it doesn't actually cost them anything. Rather piracy deprives them of potential revenue, meaning all this discussing of losing money to pi

      • I'm glad you raised that often overlooked point. Of course it is also a pure fantasy that every single downloader would have otherwise paid real money for the product, but that's how they create these crazy numbers. My gut feeling is a lot of downloading is purely opportunistic.
    • Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, said: There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download

      copyright infringement is not like stealing an item from a store. It's closer to counterfeiting money. As more and more infringe on a person or company owned copyrighted work, it is devalued over time (less and less people will be willing to pay for it when they can just get it for free from their friend or favorite websi
    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:55PM (#14994770) Homepage Journal
      One can take this another way. The damage caused by music piracy is about equal to the value of petty theft in a grocery store.

      In the US, quick google lookup shows the average supermarket loses around 2.5% of retail sales to shrinkage. However, only half of that is due to external forces. So, if we use the german analogy, perhaps the true loss to the industry is a little more than 1%. A percentage loss is, of course, better than unit sales as the percentage allows us to judge the impact.

      What is interesting, according to various articles, is that Germany has about 82 million people, but only 127 million CD sales, a nearly 50% drop over 7 years. So each german is buying 1 maybe 2 cds a year. And you are trying to tell me that a country that is so uninterested in music is going to download the equivelent of 5 CDs a year. I mean at the height of the sales they were only buying 3 or 4 CDs a year. I guess copying music over the internet is so much easier than just copying an album from a friend that it encourages the people to steal that extra CD that they did not even want in the first place.

      I guess not that Germany is a completely a western country, they must learn that the best way to grow a bussiness is to supply products the people want. And, of course, if artificial barriers are erected to try to force consumers to buy stuff they don't want, then those consumers will just find another way to get they stuff they do.

      • What is interesting, according to various articles, is that Germany has about 82 million people, but only 127 million CD sales, a nearly 50% drop over 7 years. So each german is buying 1 maybe 2 cds a year.

        These statistics make more sense if you approach them from a CDs per household point of view. Married people very often share things like CDs.

        Germany actually used to 'export' CDs from their retail industry: many Swiss and Dutch used to buy CDs in Germany because they are cheaper there. I can imagine thi
    • by arivanov (12034) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:56PM (#14994776) Homepage
      TFA does not answer the most interesting question. AFAIK in germany you can copy a copyrighted work as much as you want within your household under fair use provisions. This is supported by an extra levy on CD writers, blank media, etc. Does the new law change any of these provisions in favour of the plutocrats or not?
    • by MooUK (905450) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:34PM (#14994919)
      I did a small-scale study of my own recently. The results aren't hugely reliable with the study I did - amongst other things it was pure convenience sapmpling - but I did try to ensure there were a range of backgrounds. The study was focused on students at my uni.

      I found that that around 60% of my respondents felt sharing music should not be illegal, and a similar number felt a lot of people actually ended up buying MORE music after finding new bands or artists by downloading their music.

      If you want something more reliable and reputable, the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA released a study very quietly recently that more-or-less says the opposite of everything the industry groups have been saying. It was mentioned on here a week or two ago. Here's a link to the slashdot article: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/18/04 21250 [slashdot.org]
    • by cheekyboy (598084) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:55PM (#14995283) Homepage Journal
      Hello looser evil government people (that dont know what real work is)

      Since my wages havent increased 12% yearly over the last 10 years like many govt people, I hereby
      like to claim a 'stolen' amount of cash of $100,000 . The corporates who earned massive returns
      have the cash, I would like to see them locked up and my cash returned, because in an infaltion economy
      everyone DESERVES inflated revenue, even if their business models are crap.

      So wheres my tax discounts eh?
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Gardner (850877) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:06PM (#14994544)
    That's just crazy, two years!? You wouldn't get that if you went out and stole the DVD itself.
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by scenestar (828656) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:15PM (#14994579) Homepage Journal
      and thats the great part about it.

      It just shows how ineffective and out of context the lobbied laws are.

      real street crime hurts society, wheras "pirating" is more or less socially acceptable. (at least alot more than shoplifting)
      • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        This isn't about protecting society. It's about protecting powerful business interests.

        It just shows how ineffective and out of context the lobbied laws are.

        For whom? This is going to create great investment opportunities for some. None of these people care whether it's effective or not. This is about cash flow.
      • Not just that, but the burden on society to prosecute and jail these copyright infringers outweighs the damage done to it in the first place. Especially as a decent amount of the entertainment is from America - with minimal revenue going to German industry.

        This is against that society's interest as a whole. I'd call it treason by the politicians (does anyone see the majority of constituents advocating this anywhere?), but the politicians do that so often these days I guess it hardly matters.

        I wonder if po
      • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

        by amliebsch (724858)
        To play devil's advocate: One of the goals of judicial sentencing is deterrance. When piracy is widespread and enforcement is difficult, penalties must be disproportionately high to have a deterrant effect.
      • by babbling (952366) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:14PM (#14994848)
        The problem here is that this law isn't going to be enforced properly.

        By sneaking in these laws, they prosecute one or two people in the country every now and then. The laws stay in place, people don't care about them because they figure it "won't happen to them", and the movie/music companies are able to bribe politicians into creating even more ridiculous laws.

        If only they would attempt to enforce this law en-masse, they would end up with at least 10% (probably more) of the population in jail. Then people would start caring about this and everything would be set right.

        Instead, they're going to slowly introduce even worse laws, but only prosecute a tiny percentage of the population. It is an unfortunate situation.
    • I guess the **AA marketingspeak is really catching on:

      "There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download."
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Many politicians defended the new law, amongst them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: 'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'

      In that case, they either need to lower the maximum sentence for illegal downloads, or raise the maximum sentence for stealing the DVD (or chewing gum). After all, a difference in sentencing constituents a legal distinction...
  • Doesn't that blow... bubbles...
  • I find it hard to believe that German law allows two years' imprisonment for stealing a packet of chewing gum.
  • Privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:08PM (#14994553) Homepage
    Darn. For a moment, I read that as "Germany accepts strict privacy law" and said "cool, some good news for a change"...
    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @04:02PM (#14994802) Homepage
      They have strict privacy laws. As strict as it gets. Possibly one of the strictest in the world. Last time I looked you cannot even get a phone bill for a company phone without it being anonymised. Last numbers used to be deliberately scrambled so that the employer can see what is the call pricing category but without being able to see who has been called. So on so fourth.
  • This is not justice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darjen (879890)
    This is undoubtedly a sad day for justice and liberty in Germany. It's the kind of abuse we generally get when one group of thieves becomes the sole provider of necessary goods and services to the people.
    • Correction (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      That would be 'rich, monopolistic thieves'.

      And dont be suprsied if we dont get those laws here in the US, or worse... Remember the WTO? They will mandate all other members follow suit.
    • by amliebsch (724858) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:13PM (#14994574) Journal
      Once all the Germans were war-like, and mean
      But that couldn't happen again;
      We taught them a lesson in 1918
      And they've hardly bothered us since then.
    • Okay, so here's what I would like explained from your comment:

      Is entertainment a necessary good and/or service in your mind?

      Is this 'group of thieves' (who produces and sells entertainment, that apparently you believe is a necessity) morally worse than people who infringe upon their rights? Is this infringement done in the name of good in your mind?

      What is just about taking the results of someone's hard labor and giving them nothing in return for it?

      I anxiously await your answers.
      • What is just about taking the results of someone's hard labor and giving them nothing in return for it?

        i agree completely, recording contracts have become quite unconcionable, artists earning MILLIONS for their owners *ahem* labels ending up with little or nothing at the end, and not because they blew it on coke and hookers.
        • i agree completely, recording contracts have become quite unconcionable, artists earning MILLIONS for their owners *ahem* labels ending up with little or nothing at the end, and not because they blew it on coke and hookers.

          its true!
          What ever happened to the God-given American RIGHT to blow all your rockstar money on coke and hookers? what is happening to this country??? Isn't this a violation of the constitution or something??
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just wish they'd give someone 2 years in prison for those stupid VW commercials.
  • no legal distinction (Score:5, Informative)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:17PM (#14994587) Homepage Journal
    Except for the reality of the situation that one is theft and one isnt..

    Must be nice to have enough power to go buy your own laws when you feel like it.
  • Prohibition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:20PM (#14994599)
    It seems like an unenforcable law. They are going to have to put 1 out of every 5 people in jail for 2 years, and that's not going to fly.

    If you overstep your bounds against the populace, you'll find that, while they might stretch at first, they will soon 'spring back' and you'll find yourself in a worse position than before.
    • The content must be higher. Have you ever posted a photo, picture, cartoon, or anything of that nature in a forum/website/internet without the original copyright owner's permission?

      Wouldn't that be copyright infringement also? Would you get jailtime for that as well?

      I don't know, but the more I hear about Intellectual Property and laws like this, the more I wonder if in a hundred years, that the governments of the world will force every born child to have a version of the "V-chip" implanted within them -
  • by corngrower (738661) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:20PM (#14994604) Journal
    ... them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: 'There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.'"

    I'm sorry, but I just don't think they're quite the same. An illegal download doesn't prevent the 'owner' from benefiting from the origninal. Whereas when you steal a physical object, it does. If I steal a loaf of bread from you, you no longer have that loaf of bread to eat. If I copy the recipie for making that bread without your permission, it does you no harm (unless, possibly, you're the proprieter of a bakery.) I'm not claiming that illegal downloads are morally ok, just that its not quite the same thing as stealing a physical object.

    • He didn't say they are the same, he said that there should be no legal distinction.

    • I see your point here, and although I do hold in contempt the entire recording industry, just to play devils advocate here, they do in the strictest sense have a point. Not about the chewing gum thing, thats just idiocy, but about their property. They have posession of something. Whether its music or a stick of gum is irrelevant. You want what they have. So they can ask you for money, and then you (and only you) can have what they have.

      Downloading stuff from P2P networks means that you have taken what i

    • An illegal download doesn't prevent the 'owner' from benefiting from the origninal. Whereas when you steal a physical object, it does. If I steal a loaf of bread from you, you no longer have that loaf of bread to eat. If I copy the recipie for making that bread without your permission, it does you no harm (unless, possibly, you're the proprieter of a bakery.)

      There's a word for something like that: it's called a public good [wikipedia.org], by definition a non-market item, and the recording industry has spent the last ce

  • by theonlyholle (720311) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:20PM (#14994607) Homepage
    This is not a law yet - it's a proposal that the cabinet agreed on. It will only become law if it finds a majority in parliament, which may or may not happen, but it hasn't been voted on yet and Germany is still enough of a democracy to wait for that to happen ;)
    • Doesn't Germany have a grand coalition right now, though, which controls some 75% or so of the seats in parliament? *If* this is indeed pushed to parliament, I'm not sure I see how it'd fail - even with all the opposition parties voting against it, and even with a couple of defectors, there'd still be a rather large majority.

      Or am I missing something?
      • You are missing the fact that members of parliament don't necessarily agree with what the government comes up with. Especially on issues like that, the vote in parliament can be very different from what the parties officially agree on - the French just had a little crisis in their parliament a couple of weeks ago where exactly that almost happened when they were discussing their new copyright law.
    • Even in this case it can still be annuled by their supreme court which is known to have principles and guts. After all they are the only ones in the world who remembered that the people on board of a plane in a hostage situation have as much of a right to live as the people on the ground and threw out a law that allowed shooting them down.
  • There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.

    While they're at it, can they make breaking into a server the same as breaking into an office? While breaking copyright seems to have been ignored compared to other petty crimes, all the other digital offenses seem to carry far harsher punishments than their real life equivalents :-/

  • The difference is that the shopkeeper might sue you, while the one you download from won't ever sue you (I assume; since he offered the file in the first place).

    This entire law is about unaffected third parties being able to sue it seems.
  • WWIII Soon? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Firehed (942385) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:25PM (#14994631) Homepage
    Compare this to France trying to legalize P2P via an 8E/mo tax and it looks like it's about time to get out of Europe.
  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:27PM (#14994644) Homepage Journal
    Germany's is the first government that has officially conceded to all lobbyism efforts on behalf of the industry and adopted a policy that supports the industry's demands fully while completely disregarding the rights and needs of its citizen.

    Many people believe that this is due to corruption, it can no longer be attributed to "goodwill" towards the industry and stupidity alone. In any case, it goes way beyond being irresponsible and neglecting the government's duty to take care of its citizens and the long-term effect of this will be civil disobedience and loss of respect for laws in general.

  • by leehwtsohg (618675) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:28PM (#14994654)
    Hey, anyone in germany (including me, I guess) - for two years in prison, click here http://images.google.com/images?q=mickey+mouse&hl= en&btnG=Search+Images [google.com]. I wish bubble gum would come this easy!
    • Actually, I'd guess that 18 of those pictures are copyright by Walt Disney Inc. So anyone in Germany who downloads the page is risking a 36-year prison term.

      Unless, of course, you have written permission from Walt Disney Inc to copy those picture. You do always get written permission before you download any web page, don't you?

      The NASA picture is probably safe, since they give permission to use their images for noncommercial purposes.

      The picture of the statue of Walt and Mickey is probably copyright by who
  • by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:28PM (#14994655) Homepage

    Most popular music out today isn't even worth a stick of chewing gum!

  • Mission Impossible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Toby The Economist (811138) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:31PM (#14994662)
    Facts;

    1. It's incredibly easy to copy digital media.
    2. It's done privately.
    3. It harms no one directly and immediately.

    No law in the world will stop this people downloading digital media, unless the power of the police is extended to the point that the download behaviour of every individual is monitored.

    Unfortunately and utterly unbeliveably and to my utter, inexpressible disgust and revulsion, the law has in fact taken that step, with the new European Data Retention Act.

    Welcome to the Police State.

    • How is your average German policeman going to know if the download is 'with permission' or 'without permission' ?
    • What does your average German taxpaer think, if he or she is asked to foot the bill for two years' jail time for someone 'downloading without permission'.

      It will be Sony, or Disney, or AOL-TimeWarner, who can grant or deny permission; and they will not be footing the bill for the jail time.

      It will be interesting to see what kind of evidence of permission is acceptable, and what happens if so

  • ...to not buy or steal....

    Where whould that put the movie industry?

    Need movie entertainment? look for used tapes and dvds that you don't pay the industry for.
  • Many politicians defended the new law, amongst them Günther Krings, the Christian Democrat legal affairs spokesman, who claimed: "There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download".

    Does that mean in Germany you can be sent to prison for two years for stealing a pack of gum? Now I understand how they managed to start two world wars. Yikes!

    • If I was Microsoft, I probably would be upset if someone started using a million copies of my software without paying.
    • If I was IBM, I probably wouldn't. I'd just wait until they called for a bug to be fixed, or wanted a feature. Then I'd negotiate a mutually-agreeable price for the work, and sign a contract.
    • If I was IBM, ... I'd just wait until they called for a bug to be fixed, or wanted a feature. Then I'd negotiate a mutually-agreeable price for the work, and sign a contract.

      Note that this is pretty much a description of how "Free Software" works. And lots of commercial operations work this way. Thus, you can download Adobe's Acrobat reader for free. But if you want to get the version with all the bells and whistles (i.e., a full PDF editor), you'll have to pay.

      It's traditionally known as a "loss leader".
      • Hang on; there's 2 ways of dealing commercially with IBM for software. Either you pay the licence fee up front and get the bugs fixed under warranty (like Websphere); or you don't pay a licence fee up front and you make whatever deal suits both parties to get the bugs fixed later (like GlueCode).

        IBM doesn't really sell software. IBM sells professional services.

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

    So, you'd get two years for stealing gum?
  • Man, I knew the Germans were tough, but 2 years in jail for a stick of gum!

    What about if I leave the gum in the shop and make a magic clone of it? Still two years? Even though, at best the shop is out a *potential* sale, rather than losing actual stock?

    What if I invent a replicator, like they have in Star Trek and I replicate a 90's CD in a time travel episode on a Holodeck. Is that like 2 years in Real-Jail or Holo-Jail? Why does the computer never tell Riker that he can't have Jazz played because its copy
  • What if the users downloading the copyrighted material don't know that they are breaking the law. When someone goes into a shop and takes a pack of chewing gum it is painfully obvious that they are stealing. But when someone downloads something from the internet there isn't a mechanism in place to let them know that they are breaking the law.
    Having a law that is so strict without giving the population time to become aware of the same protocols and same methods being used for both legal and illegal activity
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:43PM (#14994727)
    German politicians are very much like every other politician or normal person not awar of the general principles of IT. They are blissfully ignorant of the actual consequences of todays IP laws they pass. The last draft of internet copyright protection law that made it into the real world was a haphazard and naive mess, littered with wrong vocablurary and barely made it not to be a classical 1984 "Thought Crime Law" as the US american DMCA is. This new law is a step closer to that though.
    Brigitte Zypries said it right there though: She can't be bothered bugging the decision boards with such minor details as seperating IP control and access/market control and thus doesn't care about the effects. Politicians have other things to worry about - like the deficit. When asked if it where a proactive DRM circumvention if copying a CD on PC Linux (where current DRM is unaffective) she said something like "Well, in that case I would say, sort of, that if DRM is unaffective it's not there so it's no circumvention in this case." ... No word about that in the law.

    It boils down to the courtroom again, where it's up to the judge to introduce sanity into the process again. I understand there are some US judges that have ruled the DMCA as unapplicable in some cases, as it's against the american constitution.

    Goes to show what we all should never forget: Laws are made by humans and should be subject to perpetual scrunity.
  • by Cytlid (95255) * on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:52PM (#14994759)
    This brings up an interesting thought. On Star Trek, they have that Replicator thing. If Captain Picard wants a steak, he asks for a steak and it seemingly materializes out of thin air. If he wants a million steaks and that replicator thing can create them all, efforlessly, exact duplicatible copies ... is he _stealing_ those steaks? Where did they come from? Did he kill a million cows? (Or more accurately, did 1 cow divided by steaks multiplied by a million get killed? Were they real or virtual cows?)

    So now Mr Picard can duplicate a million sticks of gum and steal them all... _then_ it's just like stealing a million sticks of gum from a shop... right? Well at least it's more like performing an illegal download.

    The materialized steak was someone's idea of a steak... at the very least you may be stealing the idea, not the steak itself.

    • If Jean-Luc hadn't replicated those steaks, maybe he would have spent some credits on a real steak, which would have benefitted the farmer who raised the cows. Therefore, using content-industry bizarro-logic, Jean-Luc stole a steak from the farmer! That bald bastard!

      Of course, nothing is truly free, as someone earned some credits building and selling the replicators used on the Enterprise, just as many people benefit from movie/music downloading such as hard-drive and blank-cd manufacturers.
    • Obviously you have never seen the bill of the Enterprise for licensing fees for steak blueprints.

      I heard you go to a prison planet if you replicate using a blueprint for which you did not pay the license fees.
  • by user24 (854467) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @03:55PM (#14994767) Homepage
    except for russia [slashdot.org]

    In Germany, you beat piracy,
    In Soviet Russia, a pirate beats you!!

    sorry.
    and, yeah I know the russian dude won the fight.
    i'll go now.
  • one sided article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tolonuga (10369)
    did you notice how the first half talks about movies and the fear of piracy,
    but the second half only mentions the music industry not making as much money
    as they used to?

    well, the german movie industry has their own association with a web site at
    http://www.bvv-medien.de/ [bvv-medien.de], and despide a very, very aggressive anti-consumer
    anti piracy campain, they still more than doubled their revenue in the last
    five years: 860 mio euro in 1999 vs. 1747 mio in 2004.

    I guess noone of the german movie industry will read this, but
  • Despite any situation in Germany, or common practice, 2 years seems almost violent, and definitely profane. I had always thought that profanity and violence were the last resolve of the ingnorant and incompetent?

    Justice is not served by enacting laws that would punish the very naive among us to the extent that physically violent criminals are punished less for much more damaging crimes. My prognostication is that this will end violently at some point, cops shooting pirating criminals in their homes, or beat
  • Oh, no! Germany is dooming us to an even higher rate of global warming [venganza.org]!

    http://www.venganza.org/ [venganza.org] has more information on how the decreasing number of pirates in the world is affecting global average temperature, and will tell you what you can do to help.
  • In some European countries the police can't set up sting operations and must not use wiretapping for minor crimes such as suspicion of stealing a pack of chewing gum in a store. For more serious crimes such as robbing banks, murder or downloading a file from piratebay.org , wiretapping is allowed.

    Anybody knows if the two years of maximum penalty was chosen to allow for the police to use wiretapping and other means of force?
  • That's funny... Revolutions started for less opressive laws.

    I mean, these are the laws to support some lesser businesspeople from across the Atlantic, that give nothing to the economy of EU.

    Remind me, why were those pesky laws on Copyright enacted? I distinctly remember the United States of America ignoring them for the better part of the century, until it had the positive balance on the so called Intelectual Property.

    I had a dream, that India, China, Russia and EU could return to the original shape of IP,
  • This law will encourage innovation, or perhaps more importantly, adoption of anonymous filesharing with strong encryption, both in Germany and worldwide.

    Is that really what the RIAA want?
  • by johl (19001) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @05:44PM (#14995234)
    The article is factually wrong. "The TimesOnline is reporting that Germany has accepted a new piracy law, currently the toughest in Europe, which comes into effect on January 1, 2007." This is not true. Neither has Germany "accepted" such a law, nor is it true that it will come into effect on the date mentioned. On Wednesday, the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats presented their draft of a proposed law containing many of the things mentioned in the article. This law will be discussed in both chambers of the parliament within the next 6 months. Individual politicians of both ruling parties, as well as many from the opposition have already called for changes to that draft. At this point, one can only speculate how the result will look like and when it will be passed.
  • Overkill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OverflowingBitBucket (464177) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @06:21PM (#14995403) Homepage Journal
    Two years of jail for copyright infringement? That's pure overkill. I can't even begin to understand the valid reasons for this.

    Even from the other side of the equation it makes no sense at all. I've spent the last couple of years or so working on some games [eveparadox.com]. This is my baby, the result of me working my ass off. The thought of someone depriving me of potential income by downloading a cracked copy does make my blood boil. An appropriate consequence of them getting busted with it? Compensation for the loss, yes. Some sort of fine or community service, yes. But jail time? For duplication of an entertainment product!? You can't be freaking serious.

    This is greed, pure and simple. Perhaps a demonstration of a massively overinflated sense of self importance (defy our will eh?.. off to jail with you, consumer!). It is also a demonstration of the very, very dangerous consequences of letting a powerful lobbying organisation get their way with the laws. I hope this doesn't remain on the books for long.

    PS. Copyright infringement has never been, and will never be, theft. The former deprives someone of potential future income, and the latter deprives someone of something material immediately. Equating copyright infringement with the forced boarding, theft and murder of a ship at sea is an arrogant and flawed analogy.

    Rant off.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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