How to avoid getting a German Copyright Infringement Notice (Abmahnung)

Abmahnung

Copyright notices are being sent the world over in an attempt to stop users from both streaming and sharing content, usually movies.

Germany is no exception and big movie studios have hired various companies to track down unwitting users in an effort to stamp out the illegal practice.

However, not all users are aware of illegal activity on their device and even less so in their home. If there are multiple users of your home Wi-Fi connection you could be in for a surprise when a copyright infringement notice lands on your doorstep asking you to cough up thousands of euro in fines.

German Copyright Infringement Notice

Users using torrent services or streaming apps that make use of torrent services such as Popcorn Time are most at risk of receiving a copyright infringement notice because their home IP address is broadcast along with the distribution of the file.

What’s worst is the process is extremely quick and just 7 days after streaming or sharing a movie a copyright infringement notice could be landing on your doorstep. It doesn’t matter where you live in Germany, they’ll get you regardless, from Frankfurt to Berlin and Hamburg to Munich.

German Copyright Infringement notice

The resulting letter will be a request to pay a fine of around €1000 or face the threat of the issue being taken to court.

Mostly the letters are scare tactics and a good portion of people will pay up solely to avoid the legal costs should a case be taken to court. It is worth remembering that most cases don’t go to court but you could end up being the unlucky case made an example of that does get taken to court.

How to avoid getting a German Copyright Infringement Notice

The most simple step is to ensure you don’t access any copyrighted material, however that can be difficult if multiple people share your device or home internet connection.

Step 1:

The first step is to ensure that any software you use is set to not share files. Often when streaming movies or other content the software or app you use will also share this with other users.

Most countries (with Germany being no exception) come down harder on those who share movies than those that just stream them. In fact in the EU there is a question mark over the legality of streaming movies, and by just streaming them you may not even be breaking the law.

Step 2:

This is the most important step and will ensure that no matter what you do on your device, no matter what apps you have installed or what you watch, all of that will remain private.

In a nutshell it means that you will never receive copyright notices and anything you do remains protected.

All you need to do is get an app called a VPN.

A VPN works by encrypting the data on your device before it’s sent to the internet. Encryption means jumbling everything up so it’s unreadable.

This means that no one knows what you’re doing while connected to the internet, be it streaming movies or browsing websites.

Where to get a VPN

There are thousands of companies who offer VPN services and the choice can be a little confusing at times.

For speed it’s best to choose a VPN service with a VPN server in Germany. However, if you want to protect your privacy to the highest level then choosing a provider that has a server outside Germany will serve you best.

The best idea is to choose a provider that has a server outside the EU but near enough to Germany that you don’t lose too much speed. The further the physical distance the more speed you will lose.

For this selecting a VPN service that has a server in Switzerland is ideal. Below we’ve listed three of the best that tick this box.

  1. IPVanish
  2. VPN.ac
  3. NordVPN

All you need to do is select one of the three above and click their name.

Once on their website, sign up and then download the correct app for your device. They all support Android, iOS, Windows and Mac and you can use the service on multiple devices ensuring that everyone in your household is protected.

You can now enjoy private browsing in Germany.

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