The first rule of Usenet: Don't talk about Usenet. This old fight club file sharing slogan was apparently on the mind of German judges that recently ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction against the Usenet access provider Usenext, according to Spiegel Online.

Usenext is know for its aggressive affiliate marketing, promising access to "more than 300 Terabytes of data" and free test accounts to anyone who wants or doesn't want to know. The company has been advertising on and forging affiliate relationships with many torrent and warez sites, with Mininova being one of the better known Usenext affiliates.

The German association of video rental stores now argued that Usenext has been advertising access to pornographic material, and the Munich district court agreed. Making porn available without very strict age verification mechanisms is illegal in Germany, and we're not just talking about the obligatory splash page many US websites use. Germans have to prove to be over 18 years of age by showing their national ID card to a postal worker who then signs a proof of age document that has to be mailed to the company running a pronographic website before the site can grant access to a user. The court now found that simply advertising the availability of porn without such age checks is illegal as well.

The video rental store association sees this as a first step in a longer fight against Usenet access providers. Companies like Usenext couldn't claim they don't know what kind of content their users are downloading if they advertise with such content, the group said in a press release.

Usenext CEO Wolfgang Oswald told Spiegel Online that it wants to appeal the decision. He denied that Usenext ever promised pornographic content and said that such a decision could affect the whole affilate marketing industry, which made up a big chunk of the overall online advertising market.

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