Last year saw growing awareness and action around “ad-sponsored piracy” – the appearance of ads from big brands on filesharing websites, and pressure from music rightsholders on those brands and their partner ad networks to stop it. The theory: squeeze off the revenues, and the sites may struggle to survive. In Germany, though, that strategy may have run into a roadblock. TorrentFreak reports on a court ruling against German industry body BVMI, which had been trying to persuade brands to keep their ads off the YouTube-MP3 audio-ripping website. The site quickly filed a complaint with a Berlin district court claiming anti-trust issues, and the case appears to have ended with a cease-and-desist order… for BVMI. “The illegitimacy of the disruption by evaluating the interests of both parties arises from the wording of the letter by which the defendant wants to make the recipient believe that the service of the plaintiff is without a doubt illegal and therefore the recipient must end its business partnership with the plaintiff,” ruled the court. “As a matter of fact the legal situation is not as obvious as the defendant concludes.” While this ruling doesn’t directly affect similar initiatives elsewhere in the world – the US and UK for example – it may encourage more affected websites to cry anti-trust in those markets.

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