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BGH on Liability for Video Uploads of Third Parties

The Federal Court of Justice has delivered an interesting verdict on the question of liability for video uploads of third parties!

The decision was about the following facts: The MDR published untrue facts in a television article, just as it can happen to any streamer or YouTuber. He was warned about this. The lawsuit against the contribution was also largely successful. The matter became particularly controversial – and interesting for reporting – because many other users had uploaded the post themselves to YouTube, against which the injured person had also taken action. He now wanted to have these costs reimbursed by the MDR.

However, the Thuringian Higher Regional Court rejected this claim, since the legal fees incurred cannot be imputed to the MDR. The Federal Court of Justice now disagreed. Since videos on the Internet would typically be made by third parties, the infringement caused by the redistribution of the original contribution was both equivalent and adequately causal due to the initial publication. The fact that the user uploads themselves constituted a copyright infringement was irrelevant to the BGH, because anyone who puts a post online must also expect it to spread in the age of social networks. A very exciting and quite contentious view, but it can also be relevant for many streamers and YouTubers.

The impending financial risk could not convince the BGH either, because the costs to be reimbursed could in turn be demanded by those who illegally published the contribution on YouTube.

Finally, the BGH did not recognise any contradiction with its judgment of 13 November 2013 according to which the debtor of an injunction was not responsible for the independent action of third parties, since in the present case it is not a matter of the extent of contractual or legal obligations of injunctive relief, but the question to be assessed in the context of a tortious claim for damages and to be assessed in accordance with general principles of liability law, whether the debtor has been adequately infringed in the law is attributable to liability law.

The verdict is certainly another good reason to check exactly what you publish as an influencer, streamer or YouTuber all through your channels!

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053