Filter nach benutzerdefiniertem Beitragstyp
Filter by Kategorien
Archive - Old blogposts
Blockchain and law
Blockchain Law
Competition law
Data protection Law
Esport and politics
Esport Business
EU law
Labour law
Law and Blockchain
Law and computer games
Law and Esport
Law on the Internet
Law on the protection of minors
News in brief
Online retail
Web3 Law
Youtube video
Just call!

03322 5078053

File sharing and family members

This post is also available in: Deutsch

The owner of an Internet connection through which copyright infringements were committed by file sharing cannot exempt himself from liability by simply naming a family member who was able to access this connection.

Right holders must have an effective remedy or means to enable the competent courts to order the provision of the required information.

This has now been decided by the ECJ, based on a case from Germany.

The German publishing house Bastei Lübbe is seeking damages before the Munich I Regional Court because an audio book, whose copyrights and related rights it holds, was offered for download to an unlimited number of users of an Internet file-sharing platform via the connection owner’s Internet connection.

The subscriber denied having committed the copyright infringement himself. In addition, he claims that his parents, who live in the same house, also had access to the connection, without, however, providing any further details on the time and type of use of the connection by his parents.

In this context, the Munich I Regional Court asked the ECJ to interpret the provisions of Union law on the protection of intellectual property rights.

The latter now ruled that Union law precluded a national
legal provision (such as that at issue in the main proceedings, as interpreted by the competent national court), according to which the owner of an internet connection through which copyright infringements have been committed by means of file-sharing cannot be held liable if he names a family member who was able to access that connection without providing details of the time and manner of use of the connection by that family member.

According to the ECJ, an appropriate balance must be struck between various fundamental rights, namely, on the one hand, the right to an effective remedy and the right to intellectual property and, on the other hand, the right to respect for private and family life.

Such a balance would be lacking if the family members of the owner of an Internet connection through which copyright infringements were committed by file sharing were granted quasi-absolute protection.

However, the situation would be different if, in order to avoid an interference with family life that is deemed inadmissible, the rightholders were able to have another effective legal remedy, which in this case would enable them in particular to have the civil liability of the owner of the Internet connection in question established.

This decision, coupled with similar BGH decisions, should make it very difficult in the future for accused file-sharers to merely claim that someone else may have committed the infringing act.


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


Share via
GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner
Send this to a friend