Internet Laws that you should know
Many of us often do not understand that Germany is a land of law and order. Even people who live in USA or UK, often take things too lightly when it comes to small crimes as in those countries law and order often are on paper only. In Germany, if there is a law, there is an impact, does not matter how small or big the crime is.
There are several thousands of Law firms active in Germany (to some extent they are getting the benefit of the complex German law system)who are active in finding people who are breaking the law in virtual (Internet) or in real life. Once they find a case, they will send you a warning (known as Abmahnung) with an initialfee starting from 100 Euro and higher.
1. P2p, File-sharing, Online streaming, Rapidshare, Megaupload etc. are illegal in Germany. This is the most simple kind of example of small crimes that everyone thinks “Oh, it can not be that bad!”.The reality is it is bad, and it is much worse than you think. Everyday there are thousands of people around Germany receive warnings (Abmahnung) with an average of 500 Euro fine. If you download 100 mp3sor books in a single zip file and get caught, you will have pay at least 50-100 Euro for each of the song or book that is licensed under copyright. Now the worst part of it. Let say you just ignore the letter of warning and simply “hide”. These firms selects a list of people who didn’t pay the initial “small” fee randomly and go to court against them. These law suits will start with at least 20,000 Euro.And more, you can be jailed up to 3 years.
And your Internet-provider has a hard-wired IP address that traces every single bit of traffic which you can not hide using any IP-manipulation software.
At the same time, we advice you never ever write things on public forum (like on our wall or anywhere else) saying that “you are using p2p or downloading files or watching video streams”. You are only helping out those lawyers to find you even easier.
2. On Facebook, students often coming to Germany for the first time like to upload tons of pictures. Be careful! According to German law, you can not publish someones picture anywhere public without his/her prior approval.
3. Do not work illegal! Once again, don’t underestimate the authority and the legal system. They will trace you before you know it. If you get caught, you will be sent to home “safely”.
4. Get yourself a Haftpflichtversicherung (Third party liability insurance). Did it ever happen to you that you mistakenly break something on the supermarket or just scratch a Porsche while walking or biking on a road?This unintentional accidents happen all the time and every student living in Germany is advised to get a Haftpflichtversicherung. This insurance typically costs maximum 40 Euro a year and covers up to several hundred thousands Euro of damage.
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