highest German judge confirms that provider open wifi is not responsible




The highest German court, the Bundesgerichtshof, has confirmed that a provider of an open Wi-Fi network is not liable for copyright infringements committed by users. With this the judge confirms the end of the so-called Störerhaftung.

In its judgment , the court writes that it has tested the situation against a German law from 2017 , even though the infringement that the case is about occurred already in 2013. That law had to put an end to the Störerhaftung on the Internet, or the phenomenon that a provider of an open Wi-Fi network is liable if a user of that network violates copyright. For example, by uploading a movie. The verdict of the judge is seen as confirmation that this form of liability is indeed out of the world.

The case concerned a person who offered an open Wi-Fi network and at one point received a letter from a law firm because he would have made the game Dead Island available via his IP address. The rights of that game belonged to the publisher Koch Media. The owner of the network said that he had not uploaded the game himself and that he offers five open hotspots and two Tor exit nodes via that IP address, explains Heise . Although the decision clarifies the end of the Störerhaftung, according to the site, however, it would leave it up to the center what protection measures an owner of an open network should take.

The European Court of Justice stated in a judgment in 2016 that the owner of an open Wi-Fi network is not liable for infringements, but that a rightholder, as in the present case, can demand Koch Media to prevent future infringements. For example, by providing his network with a password. The German judge says only that there are several possibilities to meet that requirement.


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