No, this isn’t a late April Fools joke — Germany’s top court issued a controversial ruling late last week when it decided that parents are legally required to rat out their own children who steal music, even if they are over the age of 18. If they do not comply, the parents themselves will be legally forced to pay the fine instead.
The issue was brought up through the German legal system after three adult children were found guilty of downloading a copy of Rihanna’s 2010 “Loud” album while visiting their parents. With nothing but an IP address linked to the home, it became difficult to decide which child owed the 3,500 euro ($3,737) fine, and both parents refused to squeal, citing an existing law that protects families from testifying against each other.
Because the download came from the home of the parents, they are the one paying the bill and are ultimately responsible for any illegal activities by default if they cannot point the finger at who is ultimately responsible.