As I pointed out in my previous blog entry, I always advise to take an Abmahnung for copyright infringements seriously, as ignoring it might lead to greater and especially avoidable costs.
However, on 5 and 6 December a wave of warning letters by a German law firm by the name of U+C Rechtsanwälte has swept across Germany with - what it seems like - thousands or even tens of thousands of warning letters.
The U+C lawyers argue that the recipient of the letter has watched a video on the plattform redtube.com and thus infringed the copyrights of their client as by a stream of the video also a copy is made onto the hard driveof the user. They ask for a compensation of 250,- EUR and a cease and desist declaration.
I would neither make a payment nor sign a cease and desist declaration.
1.) While downloading and/or uploading a movie or a song over a torrent or the edonkey network is an obvious case of copyright infringement, it is not clear whether this also applies to simply streaming a film without keeping a permanent copy. U+C argues, that the film was stored as a temporary file on the hard disk while streaming it. Thus, a copy has been made, which again constitutes a copyright infringement. However, paragraph 44a of the German copyright code permits temporary copies, if they are part of the technical process. It can also be very well argued, that the streaming copy is a legitimate private copy according to paragraph 53 of the German copyright code.
2.) As well, it is unclear how U+C got a hold of the IP-addresses in the first place.
But even if the gathering of these addresses was correct and done in a proper legal manner, then the warrant that U+C have applied for at the Landgericht Köln (Cologne) to disclose the names of the people, whose these adresses were assigned to, is very likely a wrongful decision. It showed, that the Landgericht in Cologne thought it was a case of filesharing and not streaming, while it is not known why the court made this mistake. It is very questionable, if the names would have been released, if the Landgericht had rightfully classified the case as streaming and not filesharing.
Questions? For more than five years I have counseled and represented clients from all over Germany, that have been fined for copyright infrigements.
I am - like all German lawyers - authorized to counsel and represent clients from all parts of Germany. So feel free to call me at 0631 - 84 27 759 or write me an e-mail, if you have any questions regarding file sharing cases in Germany.
There is no charge in legal fees for an initial consultation. For more information about German law, my practice areas and me, please visit my blog and my main site.