Germany tweaking copyright law


HAMBURG, Germany -- Germany's new coalition government has pledged to tighten up copyright law, but has shied away from introducing any "three strikes"-style legislation to deter illegal downloading.

The new coalition, comprising the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) convened for the first time Tuesday, a month after the Sept. 27 general election took place. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be formally confirmed in that role at a meeting tomorrow where the new cabinet will be sworn in.

The coalition has published a 124-page document outlining its policy proposals. Among them is the promise to mount a strong defense of copyright. The government says it wants to "achieve a high level of protection and an effective assertion of the copyright-law."

However, the prospect of removing Internet access for repeat infringers appears to be out of the question. "We want to promote the possibilities of an internal regulation with the participation of the right-owners and the Internet-providers," says the document. "We will not take initiatives for legal possibilities to block Internet access in cases of copyright infringements."

The document also contains a pledge to facilitate European-wide licensing of online rights by collecting societies.

Merkel has already confirmed that Bernd Neumann, the minister for culture and media, will retain his post in the new cabinet.