Warner Bros. Entertainment: Freifunker’s mother convicted of file sharing


The Cologne District Court sentenced the almost 70-year-old mother of a radio operator as a connection owner to file damages for payment of 2,000 euros (AZ 148 C 400/19). Freifunker lawyer Beata Hubrig gave this on June 12, 2020. According to Hubrig, the old lady didn’t even have a computer. The free radio firmware was installed on the router, but no VPN was used.

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  1. District Office Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg of Berlin, Berlin
  2. ING-DiBa AG, Frankfurt

A company used a forensic system to identify a person who is said to have offered a copyright-protected file for download in an exchange. The provider was traced back to an internet connection via the IP address. Warner Bros. Entertainment then complained to the old lady about illegal file sharing. “It did not tunnel like many other radio transmitters. Telekom Deutschland passed the address on after a permission decision. Data is stored at Telekom for seven days.”Hubrig explained.

In the third attempt, there should finally be legal security for operators of open WLANs in June 2017. A new regulation should remove the weaknesses of an amendment to the law from June 2016. The coalition then drew the consequences of a judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on liability for interference. In the revised paragraph 8 of the Telemedia Act (TMG) it was clarified that hotspot operators are not liable for the illegal transmission of content.

In this case, however, the court assumed that Warner Bros. was unreasonable to collect more information about the offender beyond the connection in order to file a conclusive lawsuit in court. The judge called this “actual presumption of facts”. It is not possible for a subscriber without a legal disadvantage to simply deny his perpetration. On the contrary, the defendant must now explain how the connection was used and who else could be considered as a perpetrator.

According to Hubrig, the judge at the Cologne district court, Julian Köster-Eiserfunke at the Cologne district court, bases his legal opinion on the unfulfilled requirement to appoint third parties so that the rights holder can assert his interests. “The judge at the Cologne District Court, Köster-Eiserfunke, does not even fail to recognize that the mother is a service provider. However, he does not apply the legally stipulated liability privilege in her favor, but instead refers to the secondary burden of proof”said the lawyer.

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