German Court to Review RedTube Decision

Rhett Pardon

COLOGNE — A federal court here is reviewing a decision that allowed an ISP to hand over details of RedTube users who had allegedly been illegally streaming porn online.

The names and addresses of those fingered for infringement were used by German law firm Urmann and Colleagues, which recently sent out 30,000 letters to recipients asking to settle and pay up.

Urmann and Colleagues, acting on behalf of Swiss copyright company Archive, targeted users in one of the first cases to target those accused of streaming rather than downloading pornography.

The federal court in Cologne said it has reviewed complaints from those who received the infringement warning letters, which demanded a €250 payment, and that it has "considerable" doubts about the legal procedure." The court also said that German laws on "streaming" were not clear enough.

Thomas Urmann, name partner of Urmann and Colleagues, told the court in a letter that it should change its initial assertion over the warning letters, calling them "slanderous." A final decision in the Cologne case is not expected until January.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, a temporary restraining order has been issued against Urmann and Colleagues, as well as Archive, preventing them from sending warning letters to RedTube users alleging copyright infringement.

In a statement, MindGeek, which owns RedTube, said the allegations that its tube site broke copyright laws were "a thinly disguised attempt to extort money from its users."

Spokesman Alex Taylor, who runs RedTube as vice president, said the Hamburg ruling "is a victory not just for RedTube users, but for anyone who accesses a streaming website."