Thu, Jan. 25, 2007

IP Reform Reduces Privacy

CK - Washington.   The Berlin government announced a comprehensive package for the reform of IP enforcement on January 24, 2007. The reform translates European Union law into German law.

The bill known as RegE Durchsetzungsrichtlinie strengthens owners of various types of intellectual property rights, such as patents, geographic designations, copyrights, designs and trademarks. It limits legal fees charged copyright violators for cease-and-desist demands to $50 while affording IP owners a new procedural tool to target assumed violators. If an IP address is known, the owner will no longer need to file a criminal complaint to obtain information on an IP address from an Internet provider.

Instead, the reform would enable the IP owner to petition a civil court for an order to have the ISP release the contact information of the person to whom the IP address has been allocated.

Apparently, the government believes the IP allocation system to be a reliable indicator of wrongdoers--a known false assumption which is particularly dangerous with the unbelievable July 26, 2006 ruling of the Hamburg court 308 O 407 / 06 assigning strict liability to owners of WiFi routers.

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