An ever increasing flood of lawsuits against file sharers that are trading pornographic movies is starting to take its toll on the German justice system, according to a well-respected local law blog. Prosecutors of the German city Essen reportedly were asked to start as many as 10.000 criminal investigations based on the sharing of pornographic material during the last quarter alone. Even a small town like Wuppertal, home to roughly 360.000 people, gets about 2000 of these lawsuits per month.

Most of these criminal investigations go nowhere. Only a few select cases have resulted in raids, much less in actual court decisions. But rights holders don't mind: They only care about name and address of the suspected porn fans that get revealed during the initial investigation. Once a company knows who is associated with a certain IP address, it uses this knowledge to send intimidating letters, complete with cost notices, threatening additional civil lawsuits if the alleged downloaders don't pay up.

Prosecutors become increasingly tired of being used as some sort of law and order 411, and they are starting to wonder why they're supposed to pick up the tab for investigations that aren't meant to produce any real results in the first place. reports that investigating a single IP address costs up to 50 Euro, which equals almost one trillion 80 US dollars.

German file sharers have been mobilizing against this kind of mass enforcement, calling it entrapment because fighting the lawsuit is oftentimes much more expensive than settling it. Plus of course not many users want to be part of a lawsuit that centers around porn titles like "Monster vaginas" or "Sperm flood".

Luckily, porn fans in Wuppertal and elsewhere are now geting some relief: More and more prosecutors chose to ignore the requests of rights holders, according to Wuppertal's prosecutors recently called the mass enforcement requests "obviously inappropriate."

(via gulli)

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