GERMANY - Prosecutors in a German state have announced they will refuse to entertain the majority of file-sharing lawsuits in future, according to Torrent Freak.

Apparently only commercial-scale copyright infringers will be legally pursued.

Germany has been going after file-sharers over the last few years with hundreds of thousands receiving pressure of legal action.

According to data gathered by anti-file sharing outfits, an offense is reported and the public prosecution service investigates. Copyright infringement is considered a criminal offense in Germany. ISPs are pursued for information on the supposed infringer and forced to forfeit the personal details of the accused, after which, the perpetrator would be threatened with legal action.

More often than not, the litigation is not carried through to fruition, but the threats are leveraged as "compensation" from the alleged infringer to hand to the rights holder. Apparently, Germany's legal system is fed up with this "abuse" of the criminal law system for "civil" monetary gain.

In an interview with Jetzt.de, prosecutors from the Nort-Rhine Westphalia area state that those sharing files for personal, non-commercial uses will no longer be the target of a lawsuit.

This decision of one public attorney from Nort-Rhine Westphalia does not necessarily apply to other areas of Germany and will not affect other prosecutors' work, according to German attorney Thomas Hein.

"Sharing pornographic material over P2P networks constitutes a major criminal offense and will be prosecuted," he said.