A German court has recently found that the evidence used in the country's tens of thousands of file sharing lawsuits is obtained in an unconstitutional way. The Frankenthal district court threw out a lawsuit against a defendant that was sued for sharing a video game on a file sharing network, according to heise.de.

The lawsuit was based on evidence obtained by the swiss Anti-piracy outlet Logistep, which provided rights holders with the IP address of the defendant. A law office working for the rights holder used the IP address to start a criminal complaint. Prosecutors requested the name of the defendant from a major German ISP and shared it with rights holders, who then started another civil lawsuit against the defendant - a controversial but common practice in Germany that has led to tens of thousands of lawsuits as well as completely overwhelmed prosecutors.

The court now found that the ISP wasn't allowed to give out the name of the defendant because file sharing doesn't count as a serious criminal offense. Handing over the name and address of the defendant violated his constitutional right to privacy. There is no common law in Germany, so this decision won't immediately affect other pending file sharing lawsuits, but it's quite possible that other defendants will get inspired by this decision to also try their luck in court, and that sooner or later we'll see one of those cases in front of the German Supreme Court.

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