A German court has decided that prosecutors can't use experts from music and film industry associations anymore when targeting P2P users, heise.de reports.

German rights holders regularly resort to criminal cases to reveal the identity of alleged P2P file sharers. They hand over logs from P2P networks to prosecutors, who then have to decide how serious the case is. If someone is sharing hundreds of unauthorized files on P2P networks, chances are that he'll get a visit from the police who will confiscate his computers and CD-ROMs.

In the past police investigators were oftentimes accommpanied by experts from the private Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringements (GVU) - an organization that is funded by German music and movie companies. Those GVU experts would access computers, look for file sharing software and explain to the police what would be worth confiscating.

A court in the city of Kiel now ruled that this has to stop. Police should not take sides in their work on an open case, and using GVU experts would ammount to "privatizing" their casework. According to the court, persons who have an interest in the case are only allowed to take part in a raid if they are the only ones able to identify their stolen property.

This is not the first time GVU is making headlines. The German IT magazine c't reported in February that the GVU had been sponsoring members of the local Warez scene with money and server infrastructure in order to get log-files from those servers.

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