GRP Rainer LLP

Cologne Higher Regional Court (OLG): Liability of Spouses in the Event of Copyright Breaches

A proprietor of an internet connection generally should not be liable for copyright breaches of their spouse.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/20/2013 -- GRP Rainer Lawyers Tax Advisors, Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and London explain: In its judgment of 16 May 2012 (Az.:6 U 239/11), the Cologne OLG established that a proprietor of an internet connection should not have blanket liability for copyright breaches of their husband.

In the instant case, the judges had to deal with the question of whether the proprietor of an internet connection can be prosecuted for copyright breaches of her deceased spouse. The defendant was accused of twice making a computer game publicly available for download within a short period of time through her internet connection. The plaintiff, as licence holder of the game in question, viewed this as a breach of copyright.

The Higher Regional Court dismissed a complaint in the course of an appeal and overturned the judgment of the Regional Court.

Of particular importance was who has to prove whether the proprietor of the connection herself or a third party has breached copyright. According to the prevailing jurisprudence, there is probably a presumption that the proprietor of the connection herself is also the perpetrator. However, since the proprietor of the connection in the present circumstances had illustrated another conceivable sequence of events, the licence holder had to exceptionally prove culpability. Because such proof could not be adduced by the claimant, the husband of the accused was assumed to be the culprit. Since it could not be proven that the defendant had any knowledge of the illegal action or that a duty of supervision existed, the Court overturned the judgment and dismissed the complaint.

In the event of a breach of copyright, it is always advisable to obtain legal assistance as quickly as possible in order to be able to react correctly from the outset. A lawyer active in the field of copyright law can comprehensively examine on a case-by-case basis all possible courses of action resulting from the breach of copyright.

About GRP Rainer
GRP Rainer LLP is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg and London UK.

Contact Michael Rainer
Lawyer, Managing Partner
GRP Rainer LLP
Hohenzollernring 21-23
50672 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
click my link