German Internet Pirate Gets One-Year Suspended Sentence

The 42-year-old BitTorrent operator was convicted of 781 separate copyright violations.

COLOGNE, Germany – In a rare victory for anti-piracy advocates, a German court has sentenced a 42-year-old man to a one-year suspended sentence for copyright violations in connection with the operation of a BitTorrent film-sharing network.

The court this week found the man guilty of a total of 781 separate cases of copyright violation, specifically the illegal copying of films and television series to his personal computer and on DVDs. He was also found guilty of operating a tracker, the software that manages the transfer of files on a BitTorrent network.

Because the accused made a full confession of guilt and showed remorse, the court ruled to suspend his sentence. He will not serve any jail time. Convictions of any sort for online copyright violation are rare in Germany.

German industry anti-piracy group GVU, which works closely with the Motion Picture Association of America, hailed this week’s verdict as a major victory. The GVU has become much more aggressive in its legal battle against online piracy, which it claims results in massive revenue loss for copyright holders. Earlier this week, charges were brought against the alleged head of notorious German-language piracy site European police shut down this summer after a years-long investigation.