Friday March 31, 2017

Parents Must Identify Pirate Kids or Pay Their Fines, Court Rules

Germany's Federal Court of Justice this week ruled that if parents are aware that their children have committed copyright infringement they must identify them to the court, or pay their fines. This was a ruling in a case stemming from a 2011 distribution of an album by Rihanna by a minor.

This may not seem entirely strange to many here in the U.S, as we are used to parents taking responsibility for the actions of their underage children by, for instance, paying for any damage their kids cause. In Germany, however, this was slightly more controversial legally, as local law protects family members from having to testify against each other.

I'd imagine this ruling may result in families in future cases "having no idea" who might have illegally downloaded something on their connections.

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The Court did throw potential future defendants a lifeline, however. If the Internet account holder does not know the name of the infringer, he or she is not obliged to monitor the Internet usage of other family members or to examine computers for the existence of file-sharing software.