According to a Munich judge, the presumption of guilt in file sharing cases applies to the actual owner of the internet connection and not to those who use the connection. Find out more about the presumption of guilt in file sharing cases here.
Presumption of guilt in file sharing cases
In accordance with the case law of Germany’s highest civil court, the Bundesgerichtshof, the law on copyright infringement and file sharing is underpinned by a presumption of guilt against the internet connection owner.
Following a recent hearing at the county court in Munich, the judge reiterated that the presumption of guilt applies only to the formal internet connection owner and not to those who are entitled to use the connection.
Facts of the case
In this case, the defendant stood accused of committing copyright infringements through file sharing. The defendant was the owner of the internet connection but did not use it. Instead, the defendant’s son who lived in his own apartment in the same building was the only person who had access to the internet connection.
Rebutting the presumption of guilt
The judge came to the conclusion that the defendant had sufficiently and conceivably demonstrated that the copyright infringements had not been committed by her.
In reaction, the claimant in the case extended the claim to include the defendant’s son, arguing that, on the facts, only he could be considered the perpetrator.
The court came to the conclusion that the fact that the son was entitled to use the internet was insufficient to prove that he committed the copyright infringements. The judge clarified that the presumption of guilt in file sharing cases does not apply to those who simply use the internet. As a result, the claimant was under a duty to actively prove that the son committed the infringements.
Although this case was only heard in the lower courts, it does demonstrate that the file sharing case law in Munich is developing in a positive direction.
- Rebutting the presumption of guilt in file sharing cases
- New rules on file sharing warning letters bring little benefit
- Can you be liable if you don’t know what file sharing is?
- File sharing: connection-owner-friendly case law develops further
- File sharing: internet user escapes liability
- File sharing: father held liable for family internet connection
- File Sharing – Frequently Asked Questions