German file sharers received countless settlement notices for allegedly sharing copyrighted material in recent years, thanks to companies like Digiprotect and Logistep. However, it looks like P2P users, and others wrongfully accused of file sharing, may have a new ally: Saxony's Consumer Advocates (Verbraucherzentrale) recently announced a new legal aid program to help recipients of settlement notices. The organization's press release quotes spokesperson Beate Scharf:

"You should take the deadlines of these notices seriously, but never sign any settlement without prior review."

Many recipients of these settlement letters have never even shared any files, according to the consumer advocacy group, but merely registered the Internet account used for the alleged infringement. German courts have disagreed in the past on how to handle these and similar types of liabilities, but most recipients just agree to pre-settlement offers that cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars instead of pursuing their case in court.

(via Arbeit 2.0)

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