RedTube Piracy Letters Said to Be Court Error

Rhett Pardon

COLOGNE — The approval to send 10,000 letters to German broadband users accused of viewing "pirated" porn movies on appears to have been a mistake by court officials who mistook the tube site for a file-sharing site.

File-sharing websites are outlawed in Germany.

Yesterday, Cologne lawyer Christian Solmecke advised letter recipients neither to pay fines nor sign restraining orders. “From my viewpoint, the consumers did nothing illegal,” he told UPI.

Solmecke said that earlier this year the Cologne state court ordered ISPs like Deutsche Telekom to hand over names and addresses of customers because it misunderstood what was.

The German law firm Urmann and Collegen sent out the 10,000 letters last week ordering users to stop using the site and asking them to pay 1,000 euros in compensation for streaming "pirated" videos as well as legal fees of 150 euros and investigative costs of up to 250 euros for streaming movies such as  "Glamour Showgirls" and "Amanda's Secret."

The move caught MindGeek, RedTube's parent company, by surprise after they were alerted Monday to an article in Die Welt that said that data from the website was used for the 10,000 letters sent out by the firm.

MindGeek officials in a press release earlier this week emphasized that  user data was never turned over to the German law firms and that even IP addresses of RedTube users were never forwarded to any third parties at any time.

RedTube, one of the most prolific adult tube sites on the web with about 25 million daily users, was acquired by adult entertainment conglomerate Manwin this past summer. Manwin in November rebranded as MindGeek.