Friday, December 23, 2011

No Computer, No Router, AND An Illegal Downloader?

If this story is to be believed, a retired German woman who has no computer, no router, no e-mail address is still a horrible person who illegally downloads stuff from the Internet., according to the Web site TorrentFreak.

A German court ordered the woman to pay damages to a movie company that says she downloaded movies, thereby cheating the company. Never mind that it was most likely impossible for her to do that.

But if the movie company says she did it, and needs to make money off the deal, then the judge apparently thought that was good enough for him. The court, according to the article on TorrentFreak didn't entertain the notion that maybe the movie company made a mistake in targeting the woman, and somebody else that had nothing to do with her might have done the download. If the illegal download actually happened.

TorrentFreak intimated that some companies target people like the German woman without due process because their conducting pay or else schemes to add extra revenue.

That's quite a business model, if indeed this is going on. I know this happened in Germany, but this seems like just the thing that would catch on in the Good Old U.S. of A. "Hey we decided you illegally downloaded a movie even though you live in a cave and never heard of a computer or the Internet, so you owe us $12,000. Pay up now, or we'll come after you."

Yes, I know people illegally download all kinds of stuff from the Internet, and that costs artists, businesses and individuals money. So yeah, prosecute illegal downloads. But maybe there ought to be just a teensy, eensy bit of due process to go after the real wrongdoers, and leave the innocent bystanders alone.

Is that too much to ask? Probably.

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