Template: Infobox Association / Maintenance / members missing

The Society for the prosecution of copyright infringement eV ( GVU ) is a membership organization with headquarters in Berlin. He works for the games and film industry and contributes his own words helps to protect intellectual property and curb the spread of illegal copies. To this end, the association cooperates with the Federation Motion Picture Association of America ( MPAA ).

The activity of the GVU extends primarily to investigations of so-called " pirates " who are organizing, for example, in release groups or Tracker and offer illegal streams. The association supports the law enforcement authorities in the procedure concerned. The association also operates public relations to address preventive against copyright violations and represents the interests of its members towards the policy.

  • 3.1 Determining activity
  • 3.2 Public Relations
  • 3.3 Advocacy
  • 4.1 Significant cases
  • 4.2 platform Kino.to



Against the background of rapidly increasing demand for movies on VHS and at the same time increasing " piracy " representatives of the film industry have agreed in early 1984 to set up a separate company to combat the illegal distribution of copyrighted material to life. The decision was mainly driven by the motivation of the industry, from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry ( IFPI short ) to solve. In charge of the preparation of the GVU 's long -serving chairman of the Association of Audiovisual Media was ( BVV ) and Managing Director of the German subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Bodo Schwartz.

Officially, the creation of the GVU was then proclaimed in the legal form of a registered association in the fall of 1984 at the fair HiFi Dusseldorf and adopted the first statute on 17 December 1984. The first entry in the register of the city of Hamburg took place on February 27, 1985, which the club has been created to this day legally. Members of the founding board were still next to Bodo Schwartz Paul Miller of the Cinema International Corporation ( CIC ) and Manfred Goller by the Association of Film Distributors (short VDF).

Software era

After the club was born in the first years of its existence solely by the film industry, their range of responsibilities expanded on computer games in 1997. This was due on one hand the parallels between illegal copies of films and games - both in production and distribution - on the other hand also the simpler distribution unjustified created material over the emerging Internet. After 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment, the first company in the GVU had joined that was not from the film industry, the entire association of the Entertainment Software Association was a member of the Association the following year.

In 2000, Microsoft Germany is the first member of the software industry entered the club, which made a wider public awareness of the club. Same time, this range of tasks to be expanded again. Back in 2001, took over the administration of the organization GVU SAFE, which was responsible for combating copyright infringement in Switzerland. At that time, cooperation with the Austrian Association for Anti- Piracy in the film and video industry (VAP ) has intensified, so that the entire German -speaking area is comprehensively covered.


The statutes of the GVU provides that the board consists of a chairman and at least three other people. The GVU is represented jointly by at least two board members. Currently (November 2012) include Vincent de La Tour (Chairman ), Dr. Holger Ensslin, Violetta Psofiou, Ralph Tübben, Alexander Skipis and Dr. Bernd Fakesch to the body. There are, according to the commercial register committees for finance, law and technology. In addition to the Executive Board of the Association has a full-time manager who is responsible for the daily operations and reported to the Board. At the moment the Leonardy Matthias, who had previously served as General Counsel for the German eBay group.

Was formative for work and structure mainly Bodo Schwartz, who over 20 years belonged to the Board of Directors and led him a long time as chairman. He represented the GVU also to the media and shapes the image of the association in the public, including through various interviews. After Schwartz in 2002 took up his retirement as CEO of 20th Century Fox, he lay in October 2006 also reflected his position at GVU. The speech to its adoption end of January 2007 held Sabine Leutheusser -Schnarrenberger.


Theoretically, become a member of the association every natural or legal person, but are practically set by the current structure of the members and the association's purpose clear boundaries. The club does not advertise publicly for new members. About a concrete application for the Board to decide in the individual case or the General Assembly.

Currently about 50 companies and organizations are members of the GVU. In the field of film industry including virtually all of the major Hollywood studios, for example, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios. From gaming industry originate members like Ubisoft, Microsoft, Activision, Konami, or Koch Media and the respective affiliates of the major film studios. In addition, the service provider arvato, Cinram and OpSec and Rovi are in the Annual Report 2011 reported as a member. 32

A special role is played by the membership of many industry organizations, whereby the interests and positions of certain industries are bundled. For example, the Federation are currently the music industry ( BVMI ), German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media ( BITKOM) and the Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software at (BIU ) of the GVU. The Motion Picture Association of America ( MPAA ), which is for " anti- piracy " primarily responsible in the English-speaking world, also represents a full member

A total of nine associations, 21 films and 15 games providers and five other companies have the GVU support in 2011. Over the past five years, the number of members has remained largely constant, while only the economic and financial crisis, the club has lost some business from the movie industry. The most prominent example is the production and distribution company Metro -Goldwyn- Mayer, who was still listed as a member of the GVU 2007, but not in the following year. Finally, Metro -Goldwyn -Mayer has filed bankruptcy in 2010 and has emerged from other industry associations.

Since 2007, the GVU annually publish a list of their members. , 20 Not stated explicitly in such organizations and businesses who are concerned about a third association indirectly to the GVU.


The activities of the Association focuses more generally on preventing economic damage of its members, resulting from unauthorized copying and dissemination. The GVU quantifies the loss annually at several hundred million euros. In addition to the tasks defined in the Articles of Association, the Association relies on its efforts primarily on the applicable copyright laws.

Investigative activities

A large part of its resources spent on the club to the actual determination of copyright infringement. The action is driven by the view that government agencies alone the entire market for pirated copies can not overlook why the GVU tries to fill this gap. The employees of the association, including former police officers and in particular commissioners include scour systematically the relevant sources of piracy, especially on the internet. Unlike other organizations, the GVU does not aim primarily at end users from, but pursues his own words, only the " big fish ". 9 These include besides those people who record a movie, for example, in the cinema or crack the copy protection of a computer game, increasingly the operators of so-called tracker or portals with links to pirated copies.

The association focuses mainly on large, internationally active release groups where pirated products are manufactured and distributed labor, in particular, for profit or in the context of an internal competition. The association takes - if possible - including access to public records, for example, to unmask the true backers of a letter-box entity. Requests from IP addresses are the GVU because of their private legal activity is not directly possible, instead it forwards them as evidence to the competent authorities. This is usually done as part of criminal application, which then leads to public prosecution. Where then is actually opened a criminal case, an employee of the club often appear as an expert witness. Not every criminal complaint automatically results in a successful procedure, for example the GVU has provided a total of three applications in the case Kino.to.

As far as known to date, no civil damage claims are made on " pirates " of the GVU. Instead, the club leaves it to its members to make possible his demands, communicates his legal opinion in individual cases, but clearly. In particular, the so-called streaming illegal content mimeographed the legal assessment to date is controversial.

Public relations

In addition to determining the activity GVU operates since its inception intensive public relations work, with the awareness should be strengthened for copyright infringement. In the years 2009 to 2011 alone, employees of the club have participated in nearly 100 events, and achieved through their lectures about 2,000 participants. 28 In addition, the GVU since the late 80s seminars for police officers and prosecutors offers in which they themselves the consequences of piracy and specifically also to inform the activities of the association.

In 1990, the club has launched a prevention program on the subject of holography to life, which makes it easier for consumers and retailers to identify unauthorized copied media. In addition, the club became known to a wider public through the campaign " pirates are criminals ". This was produced by a subsidiary of the Central Federation of German movie theaters, their advisory boards, the GVU sitting. During the FIFA World Cup 2006 action of the umbrella organization MPAA was supported by Pelé.

Since 2008, the GVU performs together with VAP and SAFE annually the so-called DACH industry forum through which has recently taken place in the Berlin Kalkscheune. At the event, lawyers, representatives of the games and movie industries are brought together with trade associations and other stakeholders under the motto " prevention and education ." In 2011, the learned trial to digital content usage (short DCN study) a lot of attention because it was the first time information on the use of legal and illegal online offers. The investigation was continued elaborated by the GVU and the Federal Association of the Music Industry and the Association of German Book Trade in 2012.


The tasks of the association also heard his interests represented in political decision -makers what the GVU " policy advice " together under the generic term. For example, calls the club - as well as other associations - for years the introduction of a warning. This is to be displayed to an Internet user as soon as it wants to call a pirated copy first, but there is debate in German politics. The GVU criticized in particular the position of the Federal Ministry of Justice in the course of which. Furthermore, the association complained for years that copyright infringement Although an entitlement to information from Internet service providers exists, this would fail because of the lack of retention of traffic data (" flaws " ). 30

The GVU also requested to finally execute the missing third basket of the reform of the copyright law. Likewise, the trend towards trivialisation of copyright infringement by individual politicians will always be criticized, most recently as part of a post by Frank -Walter Steinmeier and Paul van Dyk in TIME.


The investigation of the association were significantly influenced by technological progress over the years: After the procedure was the beginning of the 80s, especially against illegally copied VHS tapes, many procedures in the 90 and following years included the distribution of films and games via P2P networks. Since 2010, the streaming is playing an ever larger space.

The number of proceedings initiated has fallen over the years 2007 to 2011 from 576 to 204. The decrease is mainly due to the fact that many prosecutors focused since 2008 on such methods, in which more than 200 copies of a work were produced. The GVU adds his own words to this trend and focuses its investigative activities themselves more and more on significant cases. 10

In addition to the methods that respond directly to inquiries of the GVU, the association also works in initiated by the authorities proceeding. In addition, several methods are officially reported each year, which are jointly initiated by the law enforcement authorities and the GVU. Of all the cases processed about a quarter result in a judgment or penalty order.

Significant cases

In recent years, the GVU has many release groups and other networks revealed some of which stand out because of their size or importance especially. In particular, if in the course of the investigation takes place a house search, the respective cases and the activities of the Association have experienced increased media attention. Mentioned in the annual reports of the GVU important procedures include the following:

  • In September 2007, 50 properties were searched in Germany, Holland, France and Belgium at the same time. The aim of the campaign, which was launched by the GVU project autumn storm in life, was primarily the securing of evidence. According to media reports, a total of 60 computers and 15 hard drives were seized. The GVU itself evaluates the action as a success because, for example by Keinohrhasen was no unauthorized copy in circulation by the end of 2007.
  • Moreover, it was found in the same year a person who was in charge as so-called First seeding for the dissemination of first illegal version of Spiderman 3. She was at the same time high-ranking member of a release group, which is also responsible for numerous other still pirated. 12
  • In March 2008, a request by the MPAA umbrella organization meant that the GVU has launched investigations against the operator of a portal page, on the mainly latest movies like Rush Hour were offered 3. During the process it became clear that behind the offer was a widespread network, the connections maintained to the USA and Australia. 17 Following a complaint by the GVU the Criminal Frankfurt confiscated am Main ten servers in the group, in a data center were hosted ibid.
  • Also this year, the GVU was amplified before against a Payserver ring which had granted users a fee access to pirated copies. In the said case 13 terabytes of data for a total of more than 10,000 registered users have been provided. The association also introduced a collection proceedings against operators of so-called tracker in the BitTorrent network. 16
  • In the spring of 2009, this led to a further spectacular method: After raids in Lüneburg, Wolfenbüttel and Braunschweig three men were arrested, who operated a tracker with 24,500 copied movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks, eBooks, music and software. This was characterized particularly by the fact that each user had to pay a fee to access the tracker. In addition, extensive instructions were provided to ease up the retrieval of pirated copies for less experienced people.
  • The 2009 annual report also points to another important case: 23: In 2005 the Swiss organization SAFE had received a notice gave the information on a large Payserver ring. Since the physical location in Germany, was the prosecution was handed over to the local club. The GVU finally realized in 2009 a criminal complaint against the head of the server.
  • In March 2010, the GVU presented a criminal complaint, which was directed against a projectionist from North Rhine- Westphalia. This belonged to one of the most active Cinegruppen and procured for the manufacture of pirated high-quality audio material. The investigation of the association have revealed that they were identical to the original material even to the audio watermarking. The group in question presented their activities after the arrest of the first fully Tonmanns a: . 25
  • Another complaint in the same year was directed against the streaming hoster clickandload, were deployed to the more than 20 terabytes of pirated copies. After investigation by the GVU, the platform was organized as a widely branched release group. In particular, those who have provided an illegally copied works, share revenue from advertising on the website. Even during the police investigation, the portal was completely taken by the network and also initiated proceedings against the relevant uploader of clickandload. 26

In the following years the club wants to address particularly the financing of piracy. This should be stopped with illegally copied works of the operation of professional advertising-financed portals.

Platform Kino.to

The most important method of GVU in the last decade was Kino.to. The offer made ​​in June 2011, one of the 50 most visited sites in Germany and was therefore known to the general public. According to the film industry came about 96 percent of all visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On Kino.to tens of thousands of videos could be regarded as so-called stream, including numerous high-quality movies and TV series.

Since the availability of Kino.to in March 2008, the GVU determined against those responsible. According to the company, the process but crafted it as difficult as they had disguised their identity specifically. Thus, the top-level domain. Was elected to, for example, the contracting authority shall not publish any information about the respective owners in Tonga. Only the third complaint the association, which was submitted to the Attorney General's Office Dresden on April 28, 2011, brought the desired success: early June were arrested during raids in several European countries, people who were instrumental in Kino.to - including the owner Dirk B.

In charge of the action, the integrated detection unit Saxony was ( briefly INES ). She has even officially turned off as part of the process of the platform due to suspicion of forming a criminal organization and copyright infringement on a commercial scale, a message is shown on Kino.to. What is seen in the film industry as a great success, is seen by a majority of users critical.

As a direct result of the closure of Kino.to the collective Anonymous launched an attack on the web server of the GVU, which eventually led to its overload and failure of the website. In addition, under the name KinoX.to created a portal that is classified as a direct successor of Kino.to and against which the GVU but also already happening. In addition, club and authorities are investigating the advertising sales of Kino.to and KinoX.to.


A trojan, which was discovered on 20 March 2012 for the first time, unjustified use the logo of the club. It infects only PCs with the operating system Microsoft Windows XP or later and claimed to have locked the PC on behalf of the GVU, there were discovered on this piracy. In fact, not a single file on the hard disk is checked, but the user only asked to pay a fee to get access to his PC again. Usually, the requested amount is between 50 and 100 euros and is to be paid by Paysafe Card or Ukash.

Meanwhile, numerous variants of the GVU Trojan in circulation pretending to partly as a program of the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI ) or the GEMA. Due to the high prevalence of the Trojan, the GVU ultimate in August 2012 for the first time directly to the malware, in particular to their authors. In the course of assumptions were made, the Trojan was written by operators of illegal streaming portals to open up a new source of financing. The page KinoX.to, which has strong similarities to Kino.to, was used according to GVU for the mass distribution of new variants of malware.


In January 2006, the GVU was himself under investigation. The Ellwangen prosecutor accused the club to have encouraged the illegal distribution of copyrighted material itself. The club have an administrator of the so-called IOH server paid, copied over the numerous media release groups have collected and distributed. It was also accused the club to have directly provided hardware for the operation of the server.

In the course of the investigation, the premises of the GVU in Hamburg as well as the home of a senior employee were searched. The GVU has officially confirmed the raid and made all the necessary information available claims to the authorities. Due to the special urgency of the case, the action underwent a major media attention, however, the suspicion against the club following has not substantiated - the investigation was set. Subsequently clarified the Ellwangen prosecutor that the GVU has not committed copyright infringement and was not investigated as a suspect, but a witness.

In another method, the role of the GVU was considered critical: The Great Criminal Court of Kiel explained in the course of proceedings against an alleged " pirates ", the independence of police investigative work is essential to ensure. Specifically, it was criticized that an employee of the GVU had worked as an expert in the process and had a free hand in the analysis of seized computer. The requirement of impartiality, which applies not only to judges but also for prosecutors and police, had been thus not fully guaranteed. The investigating authorities were expressly prohibited from privatization of their work.

The strategy of the GVU to attract pirates by a so-called honeypot, is also always in the criticism. So it was, for example as part of a crackdown in the fall of 2007, the suspicion that the GVU and other organizations have deliberately brought open FTP server to the mains so that they are used by release groups and can thus whose members identify by their IP address. So far, however, the approach could the club not be unequivocally established, according to the unanimous opinion of experts, however, it would also be legally unobjectionable.

From single media near the GVU to lawyers, prosecutors, police and internet service providers will be judged negatively, although this naturally belongs to the work of an interest association. In particular, during the annual Industry Forum of the Association criticism of the close cooperation of various organizations is expressed again and again.

In August 2010, the GVU was under suspicion of having unjustifiably caused the cancellation of several contributions on the video platform Vimeo, although these were published under a Creative Commons license and therefore are freely available for everyone. Among the affected content included, among other things, you are a terrorist and Electrical reporter. In the course of discussion of the case, it turned out that not the club, but the company OpSec Security, headquartered in Munich was responsible for the removal of the video. The authors Alexander Lehmann and Mario Sixtus have obtained against the company a cease and desist letter and the GVU has expressly distanced itself from him. According to the company, the GVU had at no time instructed the company OpSec Security with letting their behalf delete videos from Vimeo.