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Germany nixes EMI suit against HanseNet

Cologne case stank, it seems

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A Cologne court has dealt yet-another setback to the music industry’s international strategy to force ISPs to police its copyrights.

The case was brought by EMI against German ISP HanseNet, whose customer had been using eDonkey to download unauthorised copies of music from a Russian-hosted file-sharing site. The customer accused by EMI, along with his/her IP address and other details are redacted in the court’s decision (Google translation).

In an argument which parallels the infamous “iiTrial” in Australia (now the subject of an appeal to Australia’s top-dog, the High Court), EMI in Germany argued that since HanseNet’s network was used by customers to access the Russian service, the ISP contributed to the copyright violations.

As is usual in such cases, EMI wanted the customer’s access to the Russian site blocked, and argued that failure to do so made the ISP party to the suit; as is becoming common in such cases, the court did not agree, noting (in translation) that “the defendant is not committed to such precautionary measures”.

Implementing measures to block customer access to specific sites, the Cologne District Court 28th Civil Division found, would mean that ISPs would have to control data communications of their customers, something without any legal basis.

TorrentFreak quotes Christian Solmecke of law firm Wilde Beuger Solmecke as endorsing the decision, saying “the defendant is not allowed to track the traffic of its users.

“The judge said that looking into the traffic stream would be an infringement of German communication law,” and that “blocking a domain is ineffective and therefore useless.”

So it seems that yet another case-law domino – the industry’s hope being that a string of wins around the world will gather its own momentum – has failed to topple. ®

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