File Sharing

Music industry criticises BGH file sharing judgment

The Federal Music Industry Association has criticised a recent file sharing judgment handed down by the German Federal Court of Justice, in which parents were held not liable for their adult family members’ illegal internet use.

Music industry criticises BGH file sharing judgment © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

Music industry criticises BGH file sharing judgment © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

File sharing liability

Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) recently came to the conclusion in a file sharing case that internet connection owners are not liable for the actions of their adult family members. In addition, the court held that parents are not required to monitor their adult children, unless indications of illegal activity arise.

The judgment has been welcomed by many. But the Federal Music Industry Association has criticised the decision.

In a statement of the Federal Music Industry Association website, director Dr. Florian Drücke commented that the BGH’s judgment is heading in an alarming direction. He claimed it will make asserting rights to intellectual property even more complicated. He also said it would lead families to play games of cat and mouse.

Dr. Drücke stressed that despite the current positive developments in the legal digital market, copyright infringements continue to be committed. Following the judgment, it is now clear that adult children are responsible for their own internet use and can be sued if they breach copyright, Dr. Drücke concludes.

Monitoring without reason

The German lawyers at WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE disagree with Dr. Drücke. The BGH judgment is anything but alarming.

On the contrary, parents cannot reasonably be expected to monitor their children, let alone their adult children, when there are no indications of illegal activity. Forcing parents to do so would be asking them to breach the mutual trust that exists between family members.

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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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