File Sharing

File sharing: success for WBS against C-S-R

The German law firm, WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE, has once again been successful in a file sharing case, this time against law firm C-S-R Rechtsanwälte.

File sharing: success for WBS against C-S-R © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

File sharing: success for WBS against C-S-R © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

File sharing lawsuit

The Munich county court rejected in its entirety a file sharing lawsuit brought against one of our clients by the law firm C-S-R Rechtsanwälte (case ref. 158 C 19372/13).

File sharing on BitTorrent

A producer and creator of pornographic films brought the lawsuit against our clients, the owner of the internet connection, alleging infringement of copyright and claiming compensation.

The producer claimed that our client had made a pornographic film available for download over file sharing website BitTorrent.

An offer was made by the producer to drop the claim upon payment of €650.

Liability rejected

The court found that our client was neither liable as perpetrator nor in nuisance for the alleged file sharing.

Our client was able to prove on the one hand that she had taken the necessary steps to secure the wireless internet connection and on the other that at the time of the alleged copyright infringement, her two children had access to the internet connection, with her elder daughter having independent computer access to the connection.

Our client was also able to prove that she had informed and instructed her children on the use of the internet, which included discussing an express prohibition on committing copyright infringements through file sharing.

There had also been no indications at the time of the supposed infringement that the internet connection was being used illegally, which meant that, as the connection was protected, our client was not under an increased obligation to monitor it.

C-S-R has the opportunity to raise an appeal.

Summary

  • If a connection owner can prove that there is a real possibility, that at the time of the alleged copyright infringement, the internet connection was being used by another person, the accused cannot be held liable as a perpetrator. The possibility that the infringement could have been conducted by another person is sufficient. Such a possibility is always present if other family members have independent access to the internet connection.
  • Connection owners can only be held liable in nuisance if they fail to fulfil their due diligence obligations. The extent of the obligation to conduct due diligence varies depending on whether there are concrete indications that the connection is being used by others to commit legal infringements.
  • Connection owners must regularly inform their children about how to use the internet connection legally. They are not, however, under a general obligation to monitor their children.

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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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