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January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

In what was regarded as a landmark decision, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice — its Supreme Court — has overturned the conviction of a police officer whose 20-year-old stepson had admittedly used the family computer for Internet piracy. As reported by, which tracks BitTorrent usage, the court held that an adult family member cannot be liable for piracy by a family member if he had no reason to believe it was being carried out. The case had been brought by a several leading recording companies, who had offered to settle the matter for the equivalent of about $4,000, but the police officer refused to pay on the grounds that he had not been involved in the infringement. An earlier court decision held, however, that the man should have educated his stepson about illegal file sharing. On Wednesday, however, the high court held that when an account holder allows an Internet connection to be used by family members, they are responsible for their own actions when online. “Since the Court of Appeal found no evidence that the account holder knew that his adult stepson had abused the Internet for illegal participation in file-sharing networks, he is not liable,” the judgment read.