The copyright infringement warning letter from Bindhardt & Lenz

Advice on the copyright infringement warning letter from Bindhardt & Lenz:

The Linden-based law firm Bindhardt & Lenz represents copyright holders from the film and music industry and sends copyright infringement warning letters in their names. The basis of the warning letters is the alleged illegal downloading and uploading of copyright-protected music.

Here you can find advice and tips from media law and copyright specialist, Christian Solmecke, about how to react to the warning letter.

Copyright holders Bindhardt & Lenz represents:

  • Herrn Anis Mohamed Ferchichi, Künstlername „Bushido”, Berlin
  • Hanno Graf, Omar David Römer Duque, Lars Barragan De Luyz,Matthäus Jaschik, Matthias Hafemann, John Magiriba Lwanga, Simon Müller-Lerch und Jan Krouzilek alle wohnhaft: Max-Beer-Straße 13, 10119 Berlin

What is the law firm Bindhardt & Lenz demanding from you?

By sending you a copyright infringement warning letter, the law firm Bindhardt & Lenz is seeking the submission of a declaration to cease and desist. The declaration must be enforceable by a penalty in the case of a breach. Furthermore, instead of a compensatory amount and legal costs, Bindhardt demands a payment in settlement, which depending on the number of works named in the warning letter, can be €750 or more.

The content of the warning letter:

Pages 1 and 2:

It is stated on the first page of the warning letter that “Bushido” is the artist being represented. The law firm Bindhardt & Lenz also give the date and time when the alleged infringement took place, i.e. when the music file was exchanged via the IP-address which has been assigned to you. This IP-address is variable and cannot be double checked.

Under paragraph 2 a statement as to the identity of the copyright holder appears. On page two it is explained that the civil-based right to disclosure of user details (in accordance with paragraph 101 IV UrhG) has been exercised and that a court order has been obtained from a district court, under which the internet service provider was required to release you details. Bindhardt & Lenz attach the court order to the warning letter.

Page 3:

On page three the law firm Bindhardt & Lenz makes it clear that they are entitled to require you to cease exchanging files and that they have a right to information. The law firm also states that their client is entitled to compensation for the damage caused and that you must pay the costs resulting from having to secure evidence.

Page 4:

On page four, the law firm makes an offer for amicable settlement of the case. Paragraph 8 states:

“Our client has instructed us, in the interests of bringing about a speedy and amicable solution to this matter, to make an offer to settle the legal claims resulting from the infringement named in this warning letter based on the following conditions: a.) the file named under paragraph 1.), as far as it contains music belonging to our client must be immediately removed from the folder on your computer which allows file-sharers to access it. b.) you must send to our law firm, by the latest date the declaration to cease and desist. In order to keep to the deadline, this can be sent by fax … or by email. Due to the seriousness of this matter, this deadline cannot be extended. c.) you must pay a settlement amount of €700, using the case reference number, before expiry of the deadline….”

To make it easy for you, the law firm even attaches a unilaterally-drafted, pre-printed version of a declaration to cease and desist for you to sign and submit. By signing the declaration to cease and desist you would be saying the following: “1.) [the undersigned undertakes], under threat of a contractual penalty in excess of €5,001 (in words five thousand and one Euros) for every case of breach and excluding the plea of continuation of circumstances, to desist 2.) The infringer acknowledges the basis for the disclosure, legal and compensatory costs which arise due to the infringement named in the copyright infringement warning letter 3.) In the interests of satisfying the claims detailed in paragraph 2.), the infringer undertakes to pay a settlement amount of €700 net, to be transferred to the following bank account 4.) Should one of the aforementioned rules be invalid or become invalid, the invalidity does not affect the validity of the remaining rules…”

How should I react to such a warning letter?

Do not sign or submit the pre-printed declaration to cease and desist that you have received from U & C, as the following disadvantages could result:

  • You would acknowledge the obligation to pay compensation
  • You would acknowledge the obligation to pay the other side’s legal costs
  • You would be bound by the declaration for 30 years and future changes in the law by Parliament or through the courts would have no effect
  • You would be accepting the amount set as a contractual penalty, which is often too high

On the other hand, you should not bury your head in the sand and fail to react. The obligation to submit a declaration to cease and desist should be fulfilled, so as to avoid costly injunction proceedings. It is highly advisable to submit a modified declaration to cease and desist which satisfies the other side’s claim.

The modified declaration to cease and desist should be so concisely formulated that it contains only the essential elements needed to satisfy the claim. Our specialist lawyers with years of experience in file-sharing cases will gladly draw up and submit a modified declaration to cease and desist for you.

With years of experience, Wilde, Beuger & Solmecke is a law firm specialised in file-sharing cases. We would be happy to advise you in a free initial consultation – contact our hotline on +49 (0) 221 – 400 67 555.

Christian Solmecke ist Partner der Kanzlei WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE und inbesondere in den Bereichen des IT-, des Medien- und des Internetrechts tätig. Darüber hinaus ist er Autor zahlreicher juristischer Fachveröffentlichungen in diesen Bereichen.

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