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German Constitutional Court Blocks Napster Suit 173

Posted by michael
from the detour-needed dept.
djmutex writes "In an urgent ruling, the German Constitutional Court has temporarily blocked the Napster copyright violations class action of several American recording companies and artists against Bertelsmann. The court decided that the German court in Düsseldorf, which was, according to international conventions, required to serve the writ, may not do so until the Constitutional Court has checked that the suit does not violate Bertelsmann's rights granted by the German constitution. Since, according to those agreements, the service is a precondition for both the suit to proceed in the U.S. as well as the later acceptance of the U.S. ruling in Germany, the lawsuit is for now halted. It is unclear when the Constitutional Court will definitely decide, but it is not generally famed for its tempo on final rulings, and it also stated in the press release (in German) that constitutional rights could possibly be violated if "proceedings before state courts are obviously abused to discipline competitors through public media pressure and the risk of a conviction"." Reuters has a summary.
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German Constitutional Court Blocks Napster Suit

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  • Hmmm. (Score:1, Funny)

    Erm - isn't Napster supposed to have died by now?
    • Yes Yes, you are right.
      A crippeling bombshell hit the Napser com... aarwh never mind
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tommy Boomfiger (650916) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @06:29PM (#6546997) Homepage
      Napster may have died, but the program still works. I haven't used it in quite a while now, but there are OpenNap servers which will give the program full utility. The last program I used was called Napigator which allowed the use of other servers.

      Like I said, I haven't used it in a while so I don't know how good the servers are anymore. Anyone interested should look at Napigator [napigator.com] for some more info.

    • Erm - isn't Napster supposed to have died by now?

      No. Still has many of the same benefits as SoulSeek (finding similar songs on servers with songs you like). Fire up the powerful lopster [sf.net], refresh your server list from Napigator's server, and go!
    • Napster may be long dead, but the name and the ``kitty'' logo of the pioneer online music-swapping program could return to cyberspace before the year is out. Santa Clara-based Roxio Inc., which owns the rights to the Napster name, plans to shelve its current online music service, pressplay, and roll out Napster 2.0 by Christmas, Chris Gorog, Roxio's chairman and chief executive, told The Associated Press. [...]

      Check out the full article [bayarea.com]. Yet another competitor to the iTMS.

  • Protectionism (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    German Court sides with German company in suit against American company. Wow, what a shock.
    • Re:Protectionism (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MacWiz (665750)
      What American company are you talking about?

      EMI is British and Universal is French. The RIAA is 80% foreign-owned and Warner Music (the only US label) is not listed in the suit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:48PM (#6546433)
    I have not read the article, but I will declare victory for free speech. I will also make a vague jab at the DMCA, and express my deep-seated hatred for the evil RIAA.

    Even though I don't speak German and I have no understanding of how the legal system works in Germany, I'll act like I know what I'm talking about when I make my ridiculously uninformed comment.
    • by The Kow (184414) <putnamp@@@gmail...com> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:55PM (#6546467)
      In return I will argue with a trivial detail of your conjectures about the German legal system, and, immediately after claiming IANAL-Protected Status, assume the posture that I too know what I'm talking about.

      This brief dialogue will spawn a completely off-topic thread of which dozens participate, most likely on the terrible ills of the neanderthal US legal system as compared to those of the enlightened European nations.

      Despite having little to nothing to do with the actual topic of the article, the rhetoric that follows will undoubtedly get moderated up, increasing its visibility tenfold, and therefore granting us a perverse status of legitimacy.

      Then I will offer forth a silly, contrived quote for a signature.
      • by NewWazoo (2508) <bkmattNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:21PM (#6546611) Homepage
        I will respond with a critique on your intelligence, and then correct some pedantic misunderstanding you've had of the German legal system, while missing entirely the fact that the basis for your argument was flawed.

        Brandon
        • by Bob McCown (8411) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:37PM (#6546698)
          Whereas I will riducule your spelling and grammar, and suggest that your remedial communication skills are on par with Piltdown Man.
          • Which will force me to point out that you yourself made a minor misspelling in your own post, obviously delegitimatizing any point you had.
            • And I'll rebut your criticisim by pointing out that they spell it that way in England, and start the whole "Internet is global" arguement, and bitch about all the US-Centric posts here.
              • I will have some moderator points, moderate you as 'Offtopic' because this story is about Germany so British spelling is irrelevant, and then post 10 flames as an AC because otherwise I would have wasted a moderator point.
                Actually, I speak German and was thinking of submitting this story. I did not because I simply could not grasp the central legal argument in the ruling, or (of course) translate it. Maybe Reuters will make more sense (yup, a central /. principle - DO NOT READ THE STORY UNTIL AFTER YOU HA
        • "I will respond with a critique on your intelligence, and then correct some pedantic misunderstanding you've had of the German legal system, while missing entirely the fact that the basis for your argument was flawed."

          I will jump in and use a metaphor that sounds like your point is doomed. I will get modded up as +5, Insightful.
      • I will post a link to the most obscene picture I can find on the web, disguised as an on-topic href, because I am such a tool in all other respects of my life, the only hope I have of influencing people in any way is by making unknown and unseen strangers lose their lunch.
      • by tds67 (670584) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:58PM (#6546813)
        I shall arrive too late to provide any interesting commentary, since anything useful or funny will have already been said in the preceeding 12 replies. And yet, the lure of attaching my post to the "4" and "5" scores above in the hopes of acheiving a "2" score will cause me to make an attempt, anyway. It is akin to the jackal fighting the vulture for the wildebeest left over from the lions' feast, on the wild plains of intellectualism and opinion.
        • please use smaller words.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I, of course, will point out a completely off-topic, but decimating reply about how in nature it is the jackal who makes the kill. misses your entire point and has at least one major grammatical error, possibly caused by editing.

          It will be rated three or four, by moderators who have lost all control of their thinking process.

          This, in turn, will spawn one or two comments on the moderation system.
          • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Monday July 28, 2003 @01:55AM (#6548763) Journal
            I shall refer back to moderation fiascos in the past. I shall point out that clearly the Slashcode moderating system is quite broken, and that the dictatorial abuses of those like Jamie are sending Slashdot down the tubes. I shall refer interested parties to kuro5hin for a freer and more open forum system. I will fail to close my link to kuro5hin, and the entire second half of my post will be a link to kuro5hin.
      • by gidds (56397) <slashdot.gidds@me@uk> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @07:09PM (#6547178) Homepage
        This brief dialogue will spawn a completely off-topic thread of which dozens participate, most likely on the terrible ills of the neanderthal US legal system as compared to those of the enlightened European nations.

        At which point I will pick up on errors of grammar (such as 'of which dozens participate') and spelling ('neanderthal' should be capitalised), which will itself spawn a long thread of alternate pedantry and abuse. I may even take the opportunity to launch a tirade on the sorry state of your country's educational system, how much better the standards of English are in my country, and what a sad reflection it is on techies today that they don't even care about good English...

      • And since everything else is taken, I'll reply to your sig and get moderated offtopic.
      • I'll just post a standard goatse.cx troll, since I have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation.
      • the terrible ills of the neanderthal US legal system as compared to those of the enlightened European nations

        While my reply will acknowledge your criticisims of the US system, I will point out that the US is merely leading the charge and that thise "enlightened European nations" are nothing but eager lemmings all too happy to run off a cliff.

        -
      • I will make a deliberately self-referential post with no on-topic content whatsoever, and follow it up with a meaningless sentence just to add a dash more obscurity.

        Tennis just came eastward from helping large pencils fly rodomontade stapled longboats into Holy Scipture.
  • WOW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rkz (667993) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:48PM (#6546434) Homepage Journal
    Who would have thought that the German constitution has had this law suit thrown out of court and protect a company while blatantly created a program for copyright violation, while the US constitution allows a collage student [zeropaid.com] to be sued for his life savings by the RIAA for simply creating a search engine.
    • Well Obviously... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MKalus (72765)
      ... it seems that the German Constitution is in favour of people and against corporations while the American one is in favour of businesses and against people....

      On Second thought.... Looks like they're all the same after all.
      • Re:Well Obviously... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:25PM (#6546631)
        Well obviously the difference doesn't lie in the Constitutions of the United States and Germany but in the way the courts handle a situation like this.

        In the United States a Corporation has the rights of an individual.

        Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad
        Under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, corporations are treated as individuals; therefore, their taxes should be assessed at a smaller value, the same way it is done for individual property owners.

        This case is often cited in other cases because it stands for the principle that the word person in the Fourteenth Amendment applies to corporations as well as natural persons and both are entitled to the equal protection of the laws under the Constitution.

        So in the United States the issue wouldn't be about corporations against the people, but about the rights of an individual to copywritten materials.

        If you were to read the description of the situation on the /. front page or in the Economic Times you'd see that it's not so much about the People vs. the Corps but about the fact that in Germany you can't carry about a case in the media and expect that it is still constitutional to proceed with the case, as well as the fact that media pressure and threats of court orders don't fly there.

        "The Federal Constitutional Court said it stopped the delivery because it could not rule out that the lawsuit, filed by a group of U.S. music publishers in Manhattan, would violate Bertelsmann's constitutional rights in Germany.

        "If lawsuits in (foreign) courts are obviously misused to bend a market player to one's will by way of media pressure and the risk of a court order, this could violate the German constitution," the court said in a statement late on Friday."
        • In the United States a Corporation has the rights of an individual... the principle that the word person in the Fourteenth Amendment applies to corporations as well as natural persons and both are entitled to the equal protection of the laws under the Constitution.

          I think that is a truely absurd legal doctrine. Coporations should have no more legal rights than the law specificly chooses to grant them. If the courts want to rule that corporations are people then I want to bring a lawsuit demanding a copror
        • As I have read it, that SCC vs. SPR decision has historically been misremembered.

          A Supreme Court clerk actually wrote the language describing the corporations as individuals. But somehow, it has always been remembered as a SCOTUS decision.

          A misrepresentation over decades has created the Corporation as a Legal Individual?

          And people wonder why I'm so dark.
        • by srussell (39342)

          In the United States a Corporation has the rights of an individual.

          And yet, corporations don't have the responsibilities of an individual. We have the death penalty for individuals, but not for corporations.

          This has always seemed rather backwards to me. A single individual can cause a lot of trouble and damage, especially in an age of nuclear and biological weapons. However, the amount of damage that can be caused by a corporation is much greater, yet the punishments for corporations in America are

      • Re:Well Obviously... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Random Walk (252043) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @06:24PM (#6546974)
        It's not about people or buisinesses, and also not about whether Napster is legal. The press release says: a) The lawsuit may violate essential constitutional principles by seeking to abuse the law to kill a competitor b) If the lawsuit is delayed, nobody will loose anything, but if it proceeds, Bertelsman may suffer from irrecoverable damages. Therefore, it would be inappropriate if the constitutional court would let the lawsuit proceed without deciding on (a) first.
    • Insightful? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Niadh (468443) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:16PM (#6546575) Homepage
      Who would have thought that the German constitution has had this law suit thrown out of court and protect a company while blatantly created a program for copyright violation, while the US constitution allows a collage student to be sued for his life savings by the RIAA for simply creating a search engine.

      The US Constitution had nothing to do with that guy. He caved at the pressure and offered the RIAA everything in return. I bet the EFF would have backed him legally and the RIAA would have dropped the case or settled for a slap on the wrist and filtering of the search engine instead of all the guy's gil.

      Also, lets not warp things out of perspective. His search engine wasn't without sin. A search engine to catalog shared files across a college campus. Yea, that has a lot more practical applications then simply warez, mp3z, and pr0n doesn't it?

      I don't agree with the RIAA in their argument he was responsible for what others shared. I also don't agree with him caving in and then complaining. I doubt it would have held up in court. But we'll never know will we?

      BTW. That last question was rhetorical incase you felt like answering it.
      • Re:Insightful? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by VertigoAce (257771) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @07:04PM (#6547152)
        I would think a search engine at RPI could be a very legitimate tool. The school requires that every student use a laptop. As a result, professors incorporate the laptops into the teaching (in its simplest form this would be a way to distribute presentations, notes, sample programs, etc). Given that this framework is in place, it makes sense to have a way to find things on other people's computers. I could offer my notes for various lectures on my computer, and someone else on campus could get a copy. Granted, this could lead to cheating, but it's my understanding that RPI encourages group work.

        I haven't met this student yet (it's a few weeks before I start at RPI), so I don't know what his intentions were. But there are legitimate uses for the technology. And from what I heard at orientation, the tech admins share that opinion. File sharing isn't inherently illegal, so they won't restrict it on campus.
    • While I agree that it seems rediculous the type of suits that go unchallenged like that in the US, I imagine that college student had other circumstances that compelled him to settle. The RIAA most likely had concrete evidence about illegal mp3s on his personal machine, and agreed to not prosecute him for that if he'd settle. Seeing as how he presumably had wealthy parents, he of course chose to settle out of court rather than risk jailtime and a heftier fine.
    • Re:WOW (Score:4, Informative)

      by thisgooroo (685374) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @09:35PM (#6547848)
      it might be useful to get the facts straight before spewing nonsense:

      1. bertelmann didn't "blatantly create a program for copyright violation". rather, they wanted to convert napster (which existed already) into a service that the pigopolists would consider legit. for that purpose they gave them some financial backing

      2. they claim (and apparently they have enough documentation to back that up) that the companies suing now had similar ideas, and they all had discussions about a joint venture for that. that didn't go thrugh because they couldn't agree on how to divvy up the shares. if your attention span is long enough to remember that time, after bertelmann started backing napster there were big announcements of converting napster to a pay service after some software glitches were fixed and the payment software was added

      3. based on that, bertelmann claims that the suit is without merit and should be thrown out. they have filed a request for that with the court were the other pigopolists have filed their suit

      4. until that request has been ruled on, they consider proceeding with the suit illegal legal harrassment of a competitor, which is illegal under german law.

      5. the decision by the german supreme court is to stop delivery of the notice until that is settled, nothing more.

      so there is a little bit more to this than your extremely simplistic analysis

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I should point out that rap artists have already faced this problem, and they had to pay. According to American law, if you make a collage, that is a derivative work, and you still have to pay royalties.
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:52PM (#6546459) Journal
    GPL May Not Work In German Legal System [slashdot.org], but also this news.

    The German legal system is refreshingly weird, unlike the American legal system.
    • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:06PM (#6546528)
      Like the miranda stuff, gun possession amendement, weird law about punishing hacker/copyright infringer with more prison than a raper/thief and in some case murderer, the fact you can sue if you are in the wrong mood, 12 people which know nothing of the law , and can swallow any good discourse by defense/offense especially on "expert" debat, have to swear on the bible in court (?!) and I pass many of them.


      it can all be resumed in : "different history , different culture, different law system". Do not try to understand. Accept it.
    • by cioxx (456323) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:11PM (#6546545) Homepage
      The German legal system is refreshingly weird

      Just like German porn.
    • by gotan (60103) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @08:32PM (#6547543) Homepage
      The american legal system allows to demand ridiculous sums of money, also there's this weird case-law which to my understanding means, that one wrong decision in one court has to be repeated by every other american court, and also that lawyers have to consider not only the given law but any case which might have some remote similarities to the case at hand.

      In this case the german court halted the process to decide first if it is constitutional to put a competitor under pressure by demanding the unusually high sums the US-system allows for.

      • The american legal system allows to demand ridiculous sums of money, also there's this weird case-law which to my understanding means, that one wrong decision in one court has to be repeated by every other american court, and also that lawyers have to consider not only the given law but any case which might have some remote similarities to the case at hand.

        In case (and I know this is a stretch) you're actually interested: America has what is called "common law" (like Britain, Canada, Australia, India, a
      • ... there's this weird case-law which to my understanding means, that one wrong decision in one court has to be repeated by every other american court, and also that lawyers have to consider not only the given law but any case which might have some remote similarities to the case at hand.

        Easy to tell that a German posted this, because I hear this weird criticism in Germany of the American concept of case law all the time. Let me guess, you're a German law student, right?

        The rationale for case law is n

        • Yes, i am German, and no, i'm not a law student (else i would hope to have a better understanding of the differences between US- and german law). Please note, that my posting was in answer to a parent considering the german law weird as opposed to the american one, and that it expresses my perception of american law.

          I understand, that case law is meant to treat everyone the same and hence everyone in a fair manner. Civil law tries to do the same by always applying the same rules (unless the laws change of
    • The German legal system is refreshingly weird

      As opposed to the weirdness of the American legal system, which we've all grown used to.
  • by switcha (551514) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:59PM (#6546497)
    The second senate of the Federal Constitutional Court forbade the court submitted damage suit of a group of US of American music author and publishing houses of the complaint guide (BF), American before US, today in the way of the provisional arrangement of the president of the higher regional court Duesseldorf for the duration of six months, at the latest up to a decision over the constitutional complaint, the Bertelsmann AG to let set in Germany. It concerns in the express procedure the following: The plaintiffs of the US-American output procedure state, the BF is in the meanwhile insolvent music exchange stock exchange "Napster" been and to that extent also for possibly copyright infringements committed by the music exchange stock exchange responsible involved. In the complaint procedure introduced as collecting complaint payment of damages at a value of 17 billion US dollar is stressed. The feed of the klageschrift is on the one hand condition for process in US American right, on the other hand one it is after German civil proceedings the condition for the later acknowledgment of the foreign judgement. The president of the higher regional court Duesseldorf granted the feed request of the plaintiffs for feed as responsible "central authority" after that Hague conventions over the feed of judicial and documents out of court abroad (HZUe) positively and issued a feed arrangement. The zustellungsversuch with the BF failed however because of nonacceptance of the document. The BF remained with their thereupon request posed for judicial decision against the feed arrangement before the higher regional court Duesseldorf without success. Hiergegen raised it in the main thing constitutional complaint. It makes an injury of its fundamental rights from art. 12 exp. 1 and art. 14 exp. 1 GG as well as from art. 2 exp. 1 GG valid. For its request for provisional legal protection it refers to the high probability of a forthcoming further zustellungsversuchs. With the feed the impairments of its fundamental right positions would occur and its business concern would negatively affect. From the reasons of the decision follows: 1. The constitutional complaint in the main thing procedure is neither inadmissibly nor obviously unfounded. The domestic legal order is not made fundamental the test yardstick for a feed after the HZUe. Exeptionally a feed request can be rejected however due to the reservation in the HZUe, if the asked state considers the feed suitable to endanger its sovereignty rights or its security. Federal Constitutional Court has decided in this connection already that the grant of legal aid does not hurt the general freedom of action in connection with the constitutional state principle by the feed of a complaint, with which requirements on punishing payment of damages are made valid after US-American right. With the fact however it remained open whether the feed of such a complaint with art. is to be agreed upon 2 exp. 1 GG in connection with the constitutional state principle, if the goal aimed at with the foreign complaint offends obviously against indispensable principles of a liberal constitutional state. If procedures before national courts in an obviously abusive way are used, in order to make with publizistischem pressure and the risk of a condemnation a market participant gefuegig, this German constitutional law could hurt. Clarifying the question, whether this border is exceeded in the available case, remains reserving the main thing procedure. This is more near implemented in the decision in detail. 2. The decision to favour of the BF is issued due to a consequence consideration. If the provisional is issued request in accordance with arrangement, although the constitutional complaint turns out unfoundedly later however than, the feed of the complaint in the way of the legal aid would have only retarded. Irreparable prejudices for the plaintiffs of US of American output procedure do not connect themselves with it recognizably. However if the decree of the provisional arrangement is omit
  • by christophe (36267) * on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:05PM (#6546527) Journal
    I hope we'll see such rulings (even not yet definitive) more often. Media conglomerates may have bought half of America and a third of the European Parlement, they are still some people left whose jobs are to be sure that laws have to be in sync with the higest values of the constitution of their country. They is only one Supreme Court in the US, there are one in EACH country of the EU that could be a counter-power to each stupid law.
  • by gagy (675425) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:11PM (#6546548) Homepage Journal
    First they oust Windows in Munich, then they do all kinds of crazy things that are good for the general public such as this [slashdot.org]. Now They're protecting people's rights. It seems like Germany is the place where all /.ers should move to. Although, then what would you complain about?
    • And they don't like $cientology, which pisses off US shills for that UFO nut corporation.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Although, then what would you complain about?

      The Americans, like everyone else of course!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      /.ers can't move to Germany. The women in Germany are very loose, so 90% of /.ers not getting laid would get laid, therefore no one would have any time to post anything. Germany could be the death of /.!
    • Decent beer is a big plus, but they're still kinda hardcore on Cannabis if I remember right. There really is no good place to live. Move to Holland, legal weed and whores, but their privacy laws are awful. I remember a recent /. story where they outranked the US in total number of phone taps. Switzerland is cool. Lax drug laws, beautiful country, but mandatory military service.
      This always gets me when I hear the comment "if you don't like it move to russia" They don't consider that russia sucks too. a
  • by Comsn (686413) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:12PM (#6546553)
    thats like suing people who owned stock/bought service from enron/worldcom.

    here is the company that funded the program, that shared the file, that stole money from the artist who is now eating from the gutter. ;p
    • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:55PM (#6546790) Homepage Journal
      The whole purpose of a corporation, extending back in history to the very first corporations, is to allow a group of investors to pool their money for the purpose of pursuing some joint venture while at the same time limiting their liability to the amount they invested by purchasing stock.

      The very fact that shareholders cannot be sued for investing in a company is one of the cornerstones of the entire world's economy.

      The worst you can do to the shareholders is to sue the corporation so that it has to dissolve in bankrupcy, so that the shareholders lose their investment.

      There are only a few ways to "pierce the corporate veil". One of those is for the corporation to not pay its taxes. If the corporation does that, the tax authorities can levy the money from the personal assets of anyone with a fiduciary interest in the corporation.

      There are other ways the corporate veil can be pierced, which all more or less involve the attempt to use the corporation as an attempt to protect yourself from being prosecuted for illegal activity.

      IANAL, but I own a corporation [goingware.com], and I'm pretty sure no form of civil tort provides for piercing the corporate veil.

      • IANAL, but I own a corporation, and I'm pretty sure no form of civil tort provides for piercing the corporate veil.

        IANALE, and this in no way constitutes legal advice, but I'm pretty sure that *most* torts provide for piercing the corporate veil, depending upon the laws of your state and upon specific situations (such as, you're the sole shareholder of your corporation, or a corporate officer intentionally committed fraud).

        ASA
    • Bertelsmann isn't just a shareholder: They were the last owner of Napster (the company) which, AFAIK, is now dissolved, with Napster (the brand name) sold to Roxio.

      So by buying Napster, Bertelsmann probably pretty much "inherited" Napster's problems and lawsuits. (Plus, I imagine, any financial liabilities.)

      Jens
    • Well, technically when you sue the corporation you ARE suing the shareholders. The only difference is, the most you can possibly get from them is the value of the shares.

      -Restil
  • Time frame (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baumi (148744) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:22PM (#6546619) Homepage
    It is unclear when the Constitutional Court will definitely decide[...]

    I'm a German, but since IANAL, my legalese isn't up to scratch, so I might be wrong here, but I think that in the press release it says something about a 6 month time frame:

    Der Zweite Senat des Bundesverfassungsgerichts hat heute[...] der Präsidentin des Oberlandesgerichts Düsseldorf für die Dauer von sechs Monaten, längstens bis zu einer Entscheidung über die Verfassungsbeschwerde untersagt, die [...] Schadensersatzklage [..] zustellen zu lassen.

    Rough translation:

    "The 2nd chamber of the constitutional court today ruled that the president of the Düsseldorf court may not serve the writ for a six month time period, or at the utmost until there's been a decision about the constitutional complaint."

    Now there's probably a lot been lost in the translation, but to me this sounds like the court isn't allowed to serve the writ until either the constitutional court has made a decision or 6 months have passed.

    But again, IANAL and I may very well have mis-interpreted (and thus mis-translated) that part.

    Jens
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What does this exactly mean, considering that Napster is history?
  • Germany (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:28PM (#6546646)
    First they have the balls to sue our companies (Microsoft), then they have the brass balls to drop MS and decide to use their shithole 'SuSE' operating system. Now they block *our* lawsuits against their companies.

    Wake up, people. We are in global competition and some people are NOT playing fair.

    • Re:Germany (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Jugomugo (219955)
      It's about time... we live in the United States of Injustice.
  • Does this mean Napster is legal in Germany?

    Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:46PM (#6546742) Homepage Journal
    You can avoid getting sued or arrested if you download legal music instead of violating copyright with p2p apps. Many independent and unsigned musicians provide free downloads of their music as a way to promote themselves, for example my friends the Divine Maggees [divinemaggees.com].

    There are peer to peer networks for the sharing of legal music. In some cases they use digital signatures to ensure the files are legit. Here's the ones I've found so far:

    If you know of any others please let me know [mailto].

  • by Gorgeus (612534) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @06:35PM (#6547020)
    To clear up some stuff, this ruling has very little or nothing to do with legality of P2P services. It is about the huge amount of sums companies have to pay others for doing things out of contract. In the US, comps have to pay huge amounts to individuals or other comps as a FINE for what they have been doing which exceeds the damage by far. This is not possible in Germany. You have to proof that there has been a DAMAGE for you, and you have this DAMAGE repaid only. Now, this is what you have to understand to understand the ruling. Below I will roughly translate what our constitutional court said : The country court in Duesseldorf is not allowed to hand in the charge against Bertelmann until further notice. The charge, handed in by Bertelsmann rivals EMI and Universal for 17 Million Dollars MIGHT be against fundamental basics of our justice system. To stop the charge being overhanded, this INTERIM order has been made. The very high amount to get money beyond your damages is not GENERALLY against our constitution. But if trials in front of german courts are misused in an obvious way to gather public attention and press coverage and the risk of being sentenced to make the opponent give in, this might break the german constituion. Wether this has been the case THIS TIME, if to be cleared in the MAIN TRIAL. If this question is answered yes, the charge is not allowed in germany and german courts can't deal with it. Bertelsmann sees itself endangered in it's by the constitution granted rights of possesion and freedom of occupation. Hope this clears it up a bit George
  • by Danious (202113) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @06:36PM (#6547033) Homepage
    ...constitutional rights could possibly be violated if "proceedings before state courts are obviously abused to discipline competitors through public media pressure and the risk of a conviction".

    Now, if that isn't a neat description of the whole SCO strategy, I don't know what is. If ony SCO had filed in Germany, we'd have their assess :-)
  • by xThinkx (680615)

    Anyone else see this whole lawsuit as step in the right direction. To me it seems that "the soldiers are fighting among themselves in the trenches". EMI and Universal suing Bertellsman, maybe the RIAA affiliates can sue each other into oblivian.

    The RIAA's Days are numbered. They're desperate, and it's beginning to show. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if they lose one of the 911 lawsuits they've filed against uploaders, it'll be the death of them (it sets a legal precedent for a viable defen

    • We must all start questioning the artists about their lack of business smarts. After all, the RIAA (or its individual member labels) comprise the average rock star's marketing and promotion arm.

      In other words, suing all of their fans has, in essence, become their marketing plan. Don't know about the rest of you, but my business is music and I think that employing terrorists (RIAA) is the absolutely stupidest way to sell records that I've ever heard of.

      If other businesses were to pick up this advertising c

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