Thousands of Germans threatened with €250 fines for streaming porn

Redtube Streaming Porn Fines

Thousands of German users that have used a porn website to stream shows have received threatening letters from a local law firm demanding €250 ($344) per certain watched clips, Chip.de reports. Apparently, a Swiss-based firm that owns the content hosted by porn site Redtube has tasked a law firm with collecting fines for each of its shows that was streamed online in the region. The law firm has apparently received a go ahead from a local court, and as many as ten thousand warnings may have been set to users, for porn shows watched in August.

However, the court in Cologne may have issued a wrong verdict, German online publication Stern says, allowing the lawyers of U+C to go forward and ask ISPs to disclose names and addresses associated with the IPs which allegedly streamed the porn shows. But from a legal standpoint, online streaming is not the same as downloading and sharing content online in Germany, as users who are streaming shows are simply watching content that’s hosted on a different site, whether it’s legal or illegal. Furthermore, it would appear that users were not exactly aware whether the shows they streamed were obtained legally or not by Redtube, as the site did not mention this detail.

More importantly, it’s unclear how their IPs were actually shared with the law firm sending out the warnings in the first place, but their privacy has clearly been violated in some sort of way. Chip.de suggests that these users may have been targeted with malware that harvested their IP addresses in order to be later used in such legal proceedings.

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