The German c't magazine recently published an interesting article about a local company called Promedia which is at the center stage of the German lawsuits against file sharers.

Promedia's founder Clemens Rasch used to be the head counsel for the German IFPI branch. He left the industry association in 2003 to start his own law firm, which coincidentally also handles the lawsuits against P2P users for which Promedia is providing the IP addresses. It's a family affair.

The c't article contains some interesting details about the inner workings of Promedia that help to understand differences to US-based companies like BayTSP. US companies reportedly make heavy use of automated scanning of P2P networks - a process that has been know for producing somewhat embarrassing errors every now and then.

Promedia seems to prefer German Gruendlichkeit to automation. They employ 86 people to manually search for file sharing sinners. 30 additional P2P PIs work for the company on a freelance basis. That makes a total of almost 120 people scanning networks like Fasttrack / Kazaa and Soulseek for infringing MP3s.

According to c't, the results of this efforts are 150 to 200 prospective lawsuits per day. This means that a typical Promedia employee spends almost a whole work day of eight hours to catch just a single file sharer and document the evidence necessary for a lawsuit.

The evidence gathered by the company has led to 3500 out of court settlements and 50 judgements against file sharers. 15.000 cases are still pending. Promedia prides itself on not having erred once, meaning that there haven't been any documented mistakes in terms of the recorded IP address. But of course that's easy to say if you are on the right side of the seesaw: Just as in the US, settling is the only option for many people because fighting a lawsuit would takes substantial financial means.

There is another parallel to the United States: Promedia's work seems to have fairly little effect on file sharing overall. P2P still accounts for 50 to 80 percent of all internet traffic in Germany.

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