Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2
6,206 Views

3 weeks after the guest was leaving I got the letter from the lawyer company that there was made an illegal download and filesharing with my internet account.

I was abroad at the time of the illegal download, the apartment was rented to an Airbnb guest.

In my house rules and in the contract with the guest was written that any illegal download from internet is forbidden and the guest is responsible for any fees.

The fee is more than 1700 euro for a downloaded movie (illegal downloaded in only 2 minutes), the guest paid only 200 for his stay of a complete week.

I contacted the guest and he said he knows nothing about any download or filesharing. And he said no other people were in the apartment during this time (at night 2am)

I have a proof that I was abroad, I have a proof that I informed the guest before the booking about the consequences of illegal internet behaviour. What are the next steps now?

Do I have to contact Airbnb support? If yes, where is the contact button 3 weeks after the stay?

I just can find the button to require money but I will not pay the fee because Im not the one who did the crime. If the guest says he knows nothing about it than it seems improbably to get any money back.

The 1700 euro is just for one illegal download of 2 minutes, what about when there are more downloads made during the week he stayed at my place? With this kind of crime you could book only one night and could destroy the owner with fees which are higher than the property price itself (200 minutes-less than 4 hours- of illegal download would be already 170.000 euro in fees!!!)

My question now is what are the next steps?

Send the lawyer company all booking informations about the guest?

Any help, advice or suggestion is appreciated 🙂

 

15 Replies

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Suzhou, China
Level 10

Wow! So in Germany, an ISP can trace and retroactively fine you for torrents and/or otherwise illegal filesharing? 

I'd submit the reservation data for the guest to an attorney, along with substantiating evidence you were abroad, and advise Airbnb's legal department in Germany of your circumstances. 

Can you purchase a router with built-in VPN in Germany? Not that this is consolation after the fact...

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2

Yes Robert, thats possible in germany. The attorney letter is 13 pages long with all exact details, log files, used device, file hash, ip address, tcp, etc. 

And there are hundreds of lawyers who make their living only with this kind of crime. 

 

VPN isnt a good solution because you loose some speed, some websites dont work with VPN either and you still support this kind of crime because you are providing your internet account.

There are solutions to give every guest their own account but this cost money, you pay for the device and a monthly rate. We have already some court decisions in germany that hosts are not responsible for illegal downloads or filesharing from guests when there is a proof that the guests are informed before their stay (which was happen in my case).

I will not pay a cent for this crime, I just want to know the best way to solve the problem.

 

To take a lawyer will cost more money for the guest, I would like to avoid this extra costs. But if the guest lies to avoid any payment it would be a solution. Because time is running to confirm their offer to pay just 50% of the fee I wanted to know what would be the fastest way to get the problem solved.

I informed the guest-he lies.

I informed airbnb support - still waiting for an answer (will update their answer later)

And I still havent answered the lawyer. But next step would be to send the booking informations from the guest to the lawyer.

In the booking informations are no addresses listed only phone number and name. Because of similar problems listed here in the community I realized that Airbnb is not giving addresses from guests to the host or 3rd parties. I think that is a big problem because the time is running and in the end the guest has to pay a much higher fee than offered.

 

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Suzhou, China
Level 10

Sadly, I do not see a faster way to resolve this. The burden is on you and the guest. If the guest only accepts to pay half of the penalty imposed, then that guest is not your ally. Your only recourse is through legal channels. Airbnb Resolution Center will only support payement the guest is willing to offer, which you state is 50%. If as you said (hypothetically) you may have further penalties applied which you are presently unaware of, your only recourse is legal action against the guest. But this assumes your guest is bound by EU/German law, resides in Germany and is subpeonable.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

Administrator in
London, United Kingdom
Administrator

Hi @Tom124

 

I'm sorry to hear you have been put in this difficult situation. This does seem to be a common issue in Germany and there is a long thread in the German community on this subject here. If you speak German you may find it useful to read about how others have dealt with this same situation.

 

I suggest you contact the airbnb support team as they may be able to advise you in what to do in this case. Have a look at this Community Help Guide explaining the best ways to get in touch with them.

 

I hope that you can get this resolved, let us know how you get on.

 

Kirstie

 

 

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2

Thanks @Kirstie

 

I already had another case 3 years ago and the result is that the attorney is part of a big lawyer office with hundreds of lawyers who are working international to collect fees from people doesnt matter where they live.

 

In my last case Im protected because I have a proof that I was abroad and informed the guest before. I just mentioned the case here to find a better solution for the guest. But it seems there is no better solution at the moment. 

 

I can recommend to all hosts in germany: If you are not responsible for the illegal download/filesharing dont pay anything to this attorney office. You are not responsible for the crime and they will go further to find your guest when you provide the name and the booking details.

 

As HOST you can protect yourself:

1) when you collect the resident addresses from your guests (its not necessary but it helps a lot)

2) when you write in your listing that you are not responsible for any illegal internet behaviour

3) when you have a proof that you were not in the apartment during the crime was happen 

You dont need to hire a lawyer!

4) you can offer every guest his own internet access with an additional device (for example Sorglosbox or Beschützerbox)

5) if the crime was happen answer fast the lawyer and send your proofs to avoid higher fees for the guest

 

As GUEST you can protect yourself:

1) have a proof what kind of device you use during your stay at a hosts place (in case that your host did the illegal download and is blaming you because you were both at the same time in the apartment - only the used device is than a proof who did the crime)

2) use always your own device, dont use a device which is offered from a host when he/she is using the same device (reason above)

3) use VPN (speed is mostly not fast enough for a download)

 

If you already did the illegal download/filesharing you can avoid high fees:

 

1) when you pay immediatly the fee (mostly 30-50% less than scheduled) for this option it helps to hire a lawyer to get more discount

2) when you find a solution between both (host and guest) to share the fee (only possible when the host has no internet rules written in his offer)

 

If you never pay because you living abroad and you think german or EU laws is not valid in your country, you will get a title on your name in germany. This means you will get problems when you visit the country again (also years later!)

 

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 1

Hi the same thing just happened to me...Can i ask what happened in the end and did Air bnb assist you at all to claim the money back or to contact the guest directly ? I have taken the step to go through the resolution center but unsurisingly my lovely guest denies all knowledge even though i  have documentation of the films, times and dates of the bit torrent downloads...but the IP is not from my home computer ..Any help how to move forward would be greatly appreciated as I am unsure what is the next best step to take and I do not want to pay anything for this....I would like to pass the fine onto my guests and it does state in my rules no downloading..and i told them in person.....Thanks C

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 1

Hi,Carly.

That's too bad,and I totally understand your stressful situation.

If there is any progress ,let's share it each other.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2

Just wanna give you an update on my case. After several letters from the lawyer agencies I never answered them. I send them a proof that I (as host and provider of the internet connection) wasnt in the city during the download was happen. I send them also a proof that the guests got the informations before booking and that they were alone responsible for the download.

If you have as owner or host no right of disposal from your flat because its rented to somebodyelse they have no right to charge you. The payment has to be made by the guest completly. The problem with Airbnb is that Airbnb will not help you in any way. In my case I had only the email address and the phone number from the guest but no address. Airbnb was not helping to provide the address and used as explanation their data protection rules. Thats ironic because the guest did a crime on the hosts data protection and they still protect the guests. Anyway, I was not paying a cent and I never heard again from the lawyer agency.

Its more difficult if you are sharing the place and if you have no proof that you havent been at your home during the download was happen.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 1

Hello.

Unfortunately I'm in the same trouble....

The guests who stayed at our flat 4month ago downloaded drama series with our internet connection.

I haven't download any illegal file on internet(because it is already called "illegal"),I didn't think at all that I had to explain to the guests about illegal download.

 

After guest left,we got the letter and the bill that costed 560Euro for Illegal download.

and I asked to the guest if they downloaded,and he said "yes,I downloaded".

(at that time,I was in Japan,and my husband stayed in studio).

at first ,he apologized and said that he had the intention to pay it,so I waited.

It's been passed more than 2months,and now he said he would pay only half (280Euro),and I have to pay the left.because I didn't explain about illegal download.

 

 

I wonder,even if I and my husband obviously didn't download it and the guest already admitted that he did,do we have the responsibility to pay half,,,,?????

I already know his full name,address,Email,and I have a copy of our message that people can see that he admitted illegal download....

Do I have to pay half or should I try to explain about this situation to the lawyer again and again???

 

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 1

I am in the exact same situation as you. Did you get one or two letters? Did you get s lawyer involved? If yes can you recommend one?

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Baltimore, MD
Level 3

wow this sounds like a nightmere, I do not know what I would do about this, I give out my pass word so freely, Make sure you memtion to in the review of this person, but than again, it must be too late. I would not want to host such a person. I feel really bad this happened, I tell you, there would be always be people who would spoil a good thing. Hope you get a good resolution to this situation. Please keep up todate.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2

As a host you can protect yourself if you have a proof that you informed the guest about the issue before they arrive. I always let my guests sign the house rules before they arrive. you also need a copy of the passport or ID card. If you get later a bill from the lawyer and you have the proof that your guests were informed than they are responsible for any fees.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
Senglea, MT
Level 2

Be aware that airbnb will not give you the adress or id card informations from your guests, so its important that you order a copy of ID card or passport from your guests. If I have a group of 3 or more people in my place than all of them have to provide a copy of their ID.

Re: Illegal filesharing - what to do step by step?

in
New York, NY
Level 2

But  even if you don't inform them not to do that everyone is deemed to  know the law anyway ....I hope.... Because the similar thing just happened to me yesterday and the lawyer is trying to shake me down for €915 I am absolutely positive that I was flying that day and not in the country at all and I have never seen a Harry Potter movie in my life lol... You are really smart for disclosing that before you rented your place ....I never ever in my wildest dreams thought this would ever happen to me from a guest or from a law firm trying to  sue me for downloading or sharing a  movie it's absurd..  

Join the conversation