Copyright holders clean up in Germany

German ISPs are handing over subscriber details to copyright holders at the rate of 300,000 a month, according to the country’s internet industry association ECO.

As a result, it says, while most of the world is seeing an increase in piracy, it’s dropped by a fifth in Germany since 2008. This is despite the fact that the number of legal downloads in the country has grown by 30 percent.

ECO‘s released the figures to challenge European Commission plans to adopt measures forcing ISPs to block file-sharing sites altogether.

“The increasing availability of digital content on the German market shows that one can combat internet piracy effectively without deep intervention in the basic rights of the population,” it says.

“Barrier methods such as those planned and advertised last week by the European Commission at the G8 Forum in Paris are unnecessary.”

German file-sharers receive letters from rights holders demanding anything up to $1,700 to avoid legal action – something which ECO believes is excessive.

“In most cases a warning letter would be enough,” says Oliver Süme, the organisation’s spokesman for copyright issues. “It does not always have to be a warning for several hundred euros.”

But, hey, it’s a nice little earner. Although the number of illegal downloads in Germany is declining, says Süme, the number of warning letters each year is increasing.