Parents must pay for illegal actions of their children
One family, three adult children. Must the parents pay if one of the children offers music illegally for exchange? The judgment of the Federal Court of Justice is clear. Parents must pay compensation for the illegal participation of their children in the age of music or film exchanges on the Internet, if they know which child committed the offense, but whose names do not want to surrender to the rights owner.
In such cases, copyright and property rights are heavier than the protection of the family, the Federal Court of Justice (District Court, 1 ZR 19/16) decided.
Name secret, self-pay
In the initial case, the Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) Munich had condemned the parents of three adult children to more than 3,500 euros for damages and warning expenses. One of the children had the album Loud of the singer Rihanna on the Internet to the so-called file sharing via the internet connection of the family.The parents were found out which child was responsible, but they did not want to expose them with a view to the fundamentally guaranteed protection of the family. Wrongly, as the BGH now decided. If the father had to know the name of the family member concerned, he would have to disclose him if he wanted to avert his own conviction.
No extensive research necessary
The judges pointed out that, in the case of illegal file sharing, the family’s “family-runner” must investigate who is responsible for the offense. If he learns the name of the perpetrator, he must also reveal him.
The BGH, however, granted an exception in one case: if the holder does not know the name of the offender, he is not obliged, beyond his general research, to document the Internet use of a spouse or other family members and whose computer is responsible for the existence of File sharing software.
The owners of the copyrights can not claim such extensive research because of the protection of the family, which is regulated by the Basic Law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
A whole family in Sippy?
The view of the parents in the case had presented BGH lawyer Herbert Geisler and warned to take a whole family in “Sippy”. No one could be expected to “deliver his children”. The parents had explained in the process why they could not be themselves as perpetrators. In doubt, the record company would have to extend the complaint to the three children and find out who was the culprit.
BGH’s attorney, Christian Rohnke, argued against the other side that this was completely unrealistic. It is not at all concerned to accuse the responsible child as a criminal. The question is
who is responsible for the damage within the family
As long as someone pays, the parents could also be silent. It is also not a question of the existence of an exorbitant amount. Thousands of copyright violations in exchange exchanges jeopardized the company’s existence.