The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on Thursday came to an important ruling on illegal downloads that has consequences not just for those who break the law.

What was the ruling about?
At the start of 2011 the grown-up child of a family in Munich illegally uploaded a Rihanna album onto the internet from a computer in his or her parents’ home.

A few weeks later the parents received a letter from a lawyer representing Universal Music, demanding compensation to the tune of €3,500.

The grown-up child who uploaded the album was one of three siblings living in the house, all of whom were adults.

The parents argued that they had had friends round for the entire evening that the uploading took place and that they couldn’t be held responsible for what their adult children got up to alone.

But they admitted that they knew which of their children had uploaded the album, at the same time refusing to tell authorities which one was responsible.

The BGH told the parents that they were not legally obliged to tell on their kid “but you have to then deal with the consequences." In other words the parents were ordered to pay compensation.

The judges argued that any other ruling would have given the record labels no chance of successfully pursuing their copyright claims.

What law is this based on?
According to current German law, you can be held responsible for illegal downloads and uploads from an IP address even if you can prove you weren't aware of the crime taking place.

In a flatshare or a private home, the person under whose name the internet connection is registered is legally liable for a crime committed by anyone in the house who misuses the connection.

What does this mean for us?
The German press are reporting that the ruling means that parents will have to "rat out their children" or pay heavy fines.

But the parents in this case admitted that they knew which of their kids committed the crime. The case would have been less straightforward if they had said they had no idea who had done it.

Several BGH rulings have made clear that the owner of an internet connection only has limited liability for the actions of flatmates, or family members.

Parents are responsible for explaining to their children what is legal, but they aren't expected to constantly watch what their offspring are doing on the internet.

Adult flatmates or relatives are also expected to know the law and the owner of the internet connection is not expected to have to teach it to them. Thus a woman whose niece visited from Australia could not be held accountable when the niece downloaded a film illegally via her internet connection.

But isn't the government trying to change the law?

Yes. The government is trying to take steps that would essentially exempt WiFi providers from liability if someone uses their internet connection to illegally download material, according to a report published in Spiegel in February.

According to Spiegel, the Economy Ministry hopes that the amendment to a 2016 bill will help it realize one of the cornerstones of the federal government's digital policy - creating password-free WiFi access for all Germans.

But what it won't of course do is give you a free ticket to illegally download music and movies. If the BGH ruling shows anything, it is that copyright protection is taken very seriously in Germany. 

Source: The Local

Getting health insurance in Germany is one of the biggest priorities when moving here - and mandatory for any visa-seekers. But how does it all work? Germany is often touted as a model for healthcare - especially since it created the very first universal healthcare system in the late 1800s, under Otto von Bismarck.

Since it is compulsory here, you’ll find it quite hard to be hired as a freelancer or get any kind of visa without it. So here are some of the most important things to know.

Private versus public - there’s a difference

Germany has two different systems of healthcare - the statutory and the private. Statutory health insurance - more often called “sickness funds” - is required for everyone earning less than €4,462.50 per month, or €53,550 per year, and what you pay as a contribution is adjusted for how much you earn. Certain people may opt out, like those making above this threshold or those who are self-employed.

The statutory system is based on the idea that “the cost of healthcare is shouldered primarily by the better-off”, according to the Mannheim Institute of Public Health.

The main difference is this: Statutory insurance contributions are based on income and the benefits you receive are according to need. Private insurance premiums are based on your risk (younger people may pay less, for example), and the benefits you receive are according to what’s in your contract.

Some 90 percent of the German population is covered by statutory sickness funds, according to the German Medical Association.

Private versus public - pros and cons

If you’re self-employed, an older or long-term student or a high-earner, you may be trying to decide between public or private. The benefit of statutory insurance is that your contributions don’t change as much over time, instead being based on your income. But because private premiums are based on risk, this can sometimes be more favourable for younger people.

Private insurance holders also get certain perks when visiting the doctor. They may get priority in setting up appointments and in consulting the head doctor. But private companies also require you to pay upfront and then will reimburse you, whereas statutory firms receive the bills themselves.


Health insurance for freelancers, artists and other creative types

Self-employed artists, writers, journalists and musicians can apply for a very special health insurance group called the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). The state-funded KSK acts as a sort of employer to pay half the amount of your insurance for pensions, health and even nursing care.

You first have to apply to join and be considered a part of “the artistic and/or publishing” worlds. The KSK “considers as an artist someone who creates, performs, or teaches music as well as performing arts or visual arts. A publisher… is someone who is working as a writer or journalist, or in a similar manner to a writer or journalist.”

Some of the professions the KSK includes on its application are copywriters, graphic designers, emcees and translators (though this depends on what you’re translating - something more artsy or journalistic is what they’re looking for).

Health insurance for students
Germany has social insurance agreements with other EU and European Economic Area countries that any student with statutory health insurance in their home country can also get coverage at a statutory insurer in Germany with their European Health Insurance Card. Some foreign private companies are also recognized in Germany, according to the German Academic Exchange Service(DAAD), so it’s best to contact your local insurance provider to find out.

And for those outside the EU, German statutory insurers are obliged to offer students discounted rates up until the age of 30 and until the end of their 14th semester. These contributions are around €80 per month. Once you turn 30 or have been studying for longer than 14 semesters, you’ll have to pay a higher rate. If you surpass these thresholds and no longer get the discount, you can also turn to private companies, which sometimes offer student rates themselves.

Source: The Local

DJ Aisher, one of the few African female DJs in Europe has revealed why she pulled out of the Best DJ Award in Germany Award at Diaspo Awards Night.
The only Kenyan female DJ in Germany says she was very proud of her achievements when she learnt that she had been nominated in two categories: The Best Newcomer DJ Award and the best DJ in North of Germany Award. The online voting for the first category lasted for about two weeks and DJ Aisher emerged the winner.

Only members of the jury and the event organizers were allowed to vote and choose the best DJs from North, Central, West and South of Germany.

DJ Aisher also won this category, and this cleared her to battle for the Best DJ in Germany Award, being the only female among the finalists.

She however noted that something was wrong with the voting system at the later stage of the competition. “I realised that there were a lot of cheatings and automated votes coming in. I never wanted to be part of unhealthy and not genuine competition,” DJ Aisher said, explaining why she decided to withdraw from the competition.

“I would have loved to win or lose genuinely. My reputation means a lot to me,” she said, adding that she didn’t want to ruin her reputation because of an award.

DJ Aisher was surprised to notice that one of the nominees kept on receiving unbelievable votes within a short period of time.

She reported her suspicion to the site administrator and asked them to check what was going on. They however said everything was OK.

But within half an hour, one of the nominees received 2700 votes.

DJ Aisher felt bad to notice that the site had been hacked and that someone was manipulating the votes. She felt sorry for her supporters who had campaigned for her and who had spent their money to have Internet access and vote for her.
DJ Aisher was surprised to notice that one of the nominees kept on receiving unbelievable votes within a short period of time.

DJ Aisher is grateful to her fans for understanding her decision to pull out of the competition. “Almost all supported my decision 100%. Only one guy was against it. I have lovely fans. I owe them a lot,” she said.

Though convinced that Diaspo Awards Night is a credible event, DJ Aisher is urging the organisers to find another way of determining the winners instead of only relying on online voting.

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a

The body of a Kenyan woman was found lying lifeless at her boyfriend’s home during an eviction. Her boyfriend who was found at the apartment claimed not to have noticed that the lady was dead. The police suspect the man raped the lady before letting her bleed to death as she lay on his sitting room floor, the Augsburger Zeitung reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, a bailiff had been requested to execute an eviction order on 15th February. Knowing that the person involved was an alcoholic, the bailiff expected some resistance and had some police officers escort him to the bedsitter (one room apartment) in Jackobvorstadt.

At 9 am, the bailiff and the police officers found the 56-year old German suspect at home and he welcomed the group with no ceremony oblivious of the eviction order placed against him. In an attempt to get the man and his belonging out of the messy room full of trash, the officers came across the lifeless body of a woman surrounded by blood, bringing the police to the conclusion that the lady must have bled to her death.

A police was called in, though not much could be done other than pronounce the lady dead.
The 46-year old lady is believed to have also been an alcoholic, hailed from Kenya and was a girlfriend to the man who lived in the rental apartment. At the time of her death, she lived with her sister in Augsburg.

An autopsy done on the body at the Legal Medicine Department in Munich confirmed that the lady had died from the consequences of injuries incurred during sexual practices. The police believe that the lady had been sexually violated thus the injuries.
However, the man might have not noticed the injuries as he was drunk during the incident. At the time of his arrest, the alcohol content in his blood was at 1.6 pro mille. However, when the bailiff and the police officers walked into the room, stained rugs and paper towels lay across the room, meaning the man did notice the blood but ignored calling for help.

The man told the police that he had last spoken to the lady at 7:30am that morning when she claimed to have been feeling cold, being that she was naked, he dressed her and went back to bed. He did not notice that she died.

Earlier in the investigations, the man claimed that the lady had been coughing blood for quite a while. He later added that the lady had been pregnant and might have undergone a backyard abortion, and he had therefore advised her to see a doctor. The autopsy done on the lady could however not confirm that she had been pregnant nor that she had undergone an abortion.

The man is currently in a cell under investigation at the prison in Gabling. If, as expected the case goes to court, an expert will need to give an assessment on whether the perpetrator being an addict can be held responsible for the death of that lady. If found guilty, he could face at least ten years and a maximum of a lifelong sentence if found guilty of rape and murder.

The close to 150 neighbours in the apartment building have however not heard of the incident before, although some have claimed to have heard some rumors with sketchy details about it.

Asmaras World-Refugee Support makes it their mission to help helpless people who have been expelled from their homelands through terrible catastrophes. Asmara herself who is from Eritrea does a lot to support Eritrean refugees here in Hamburg.

WDR news network spoke with Asmara and two other Eritrean refugees about the challenges and difficulties most of the Eritrean refugees face in Germany.

Asmara, Musi, and Awad summarized the entire challenges facing the integration of the Eritrean refugees. They ranged from most of the Eritreans having a huge language barrier to most of them being too shy to communicate with others. A lot of them cannot speak English or German and this difficulty alienates them from both the German and English speaking society.

They also pointed out that since Eritreans are respectful people, they do not tend to argue with the authorities. They are easily intimidated by authority and when they get a "NO" response, they tend not to push any further. Eritrea is a country ruled by an authoritarian regime in which human rights violations are widespread.

Eritrea owes its notoriety largely to its national service, nominally 18 months of compulsory military service for young men which is often extended indefinitely at the whim of military commanders. National service is the main reason why young Eritreans flee their country.

As many as 5000 Eritreans flee the nation on a monthly basis. They walk through dangerous terrains like the Sahara desert and dangerous waters to come over to Europe. Asmara stated that they are very brave people but extremely shy and respectful.

Another problem the Eritreans face is the inability to bring their families over to Germany or Europe. This is due to the fact that the Eritrean Government does not issue passports to anyone over the age of 6 and up. So even after getting their official German refugee status, they cannot re-unite with their families back home because of the non issuance of documents.

Asmara is the official and un-official spokeswoman for the Eritrean community in Hamburg. She helps them with issues ranging from translating for them and helping them find both jobs and enrolling into the right schools.
You can watch the video below:

Ghanaians in and around Hamburg, Kiel, Bremen, Hannover, Lübeck and Flensburg are encouraged to apply for their passports online now under; and take advantage of the coming of the Ghana Embassy Berlin staffs to Hamburg. 

The Embassy staffs will be in Hamburg on Thursday & Friday, the 18th & 19th of May 2017. They will be operating from the Ghana Consulate in Hamburg, Lübecker Str. 1, 22087 Hamburg. Tel 040 372266.

Applicants & Travel agents are to submit their printed forms in Hamburg to avoid travelling to Berlin. Since the commencement of the Biometric Passports (chip embedded) applicants are obliged to have their data captured, hence the need to travel to Berlin. The chip embedded passports -biometric become necessary, thus enabling the country meet international standards.

We are therefore advising applicants to apply on time, to enable the embassy staffs to work on their forms before coming to Hamburg. Subsequently applicants are to submit their forms on the above mentioned days and have their finger prints and passport pictures captured. Applicants should bring with them registered self-addressed envelopes.

The Ghana Embassy in Berlin, Ghana consulate, Ghana Union Hamburg, Travel Agents and other community leaders could be contacted for further clarification.
TopAfric Media Network

The team from the consulate section of the Ghana embassy in Berlin started its "Bio-metric passport data capturing" tour on Wednesday, the 19th of April, 2017. The first stop was Freiburg. Prior to that, the leaders of Ghana Union Freiburg sent a list of applicants (30 in all) to Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, Minister and Head of Consuler. The list contained the online reference numbers and names of applicants. Especially the reference number is very important because it can be used to identify each applicant. In other words, each applicant has a unique reference number. It is impossible to identify each applicant with his name alone, the reason being that two or more people could bear the same name.

The data capturing began on the 20th of April. Due to the workload involved, the number of applicants that could be captured in a day has to be limited. Therefore, the applicants in Freiburg were divided into two groups. The data of the first group were captured on the 20th of April and that of the second group on the 21st of April.

It was quite challenging for the embassy to carry out the data capturing on the first day. It is necessary to emphasise here that the embassy team was very well prepared but some of the applicants made the work very difficult.

After completing the forms online, it is required of the applicant to print them. The printing can be done after transferring (submitting) the data. The applicant, two relatives and one witness have to sign the printed forms accordingly. If all the necessary steps are taken by the applicant and the forms are properly completed, it takes the embassy about seven (7) minutes to capture the data of that applicant. In fact, that was the case of Mr. Charlie Ghansah, the first Ghanaian whose data was captured 

In certain cases, applicants showed up without their online application forms - either they had forgotten them at home or simply did not print them at all for presentation.

In other cases, the applicants had not completed their forms well and needed to re-do it. It may interest you to know that one applicant seemed to have been tired of completing the forms and therefore instead of entering the necessary information required in one particular mandatory field, she wrote "Why do I have to answer so many questions?" in that field. Such an attitude is not only disrespectful to the embassy but also it slows down their work. In the just mentioned case, Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, the Minister Consular had to talk to the applicant, who then had to refill that field with the necessary information.

Finally, although the leaders of Ghana Union Freiburg had done their "homework" well by passing on the details concerning the data capturing, some even did not bother to do the online application nor send their names to be included in the list of names which had to be sent to the embassy prior to the data capturing. They simply showed up on one of those two days, thinking their data could be captured. When told that online application was a pre-requisite for the data capturing, one man wanted to know where he could find the website of the Ghana embassy Berlin.

It is not necessary for the lay mind to understand the technicalities involved in the process. What is important for the applicant to know and understand is that prior to the data capturing, the embassy needs the online passport application data. It's therefore very important for the leaders of the local unions to explain this work process in simple terms to all. The necessary steps prior to the data capturing have to be taken seriously. Taking things for granted delays the work process. It does not only waste the time of the embassy team but also that of the applicant and others who are waiting to be attended to.

I must, however, stress here that applicants who came on the second day, played their part well. They did all that was expected of them prior to the data capturing and like in the case of Mr. Ghansah, the work process was smooth and faster. Some of them came from Karlsruhe and Mannheim. It's in fact cheaper and time-saving than to travel at a later date to Berlin. The fact remains that very soon, one can only travel with a bio-metric passport.

This sheds some light on the difficulties the embassy is facing in processing visas, passports and other documents. Some Ghanaians who seek the services of the embassy simply do not take their part of the entire process seriously and such attitudes delay working processes. Perhaps, we can learn from this and also pass it on to all Ghanaian communities in and across the country.

In a nutshell, the data capturing in Freiburg was very successful but with some few mishaps due to the careless attitude of some applicants.

By Aaron Hooper
UGAG Deputy Secretary
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel.: 0049-176-29652174
TopAfric Media Network

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