A couple have ended a five-year legal battle with Germany's highest court after being accused of not monitoring their son's digital activities properly, after he shared over 1,000 songs illegally online.
Posted on Nov 20, 2012 01:56 pm
Parents are not responsible for their teenage child's piracy, according to a court in Germany.
Germany is seen as one of the strictest countries for punishing internet account holders for illegally sharing copyrighted files, according to Torrent Freak.
This changed last week when the highest court in Germany ruled that a couple were not responsible for their teenager's actions when he shared 1,147 songs online in 2007.
Rights holders noticed that the songs were being shared from one address, and traced it back to a married couple who owned the internet connection.
After searching their home, the computer that was sharing the files belonged to their 13-year-old son. The parents refused to pay damages to the rights holders, and ended up battling the fines in court ever since.
The prosecutors in sited that the parents had failed in their duty to supervise their son's digital activities. At the time, a district court agreed and ordered the parents to pay 200 ($255) per song up to 3,000 ($3,829).
The couple still refused to pay the fine, and an appeal finally made it to the Federal Court this year where they overturned the previous judgment and dismissed the case. The court added that the parent were not required to monitor their child's activities, and should not be expected to install monitoring software unless they already suspected their son was engaging in illegal activities.
Many cases like these are not as lucky, but the ruling could help prevent others from being blamed for illegal filesharing just because they own the connection that it was conducted on.