Case C-149/17 | Bastei Lübbe GmbH & Co. KG v Michael Strotzer

Author (Corporate)
Series Details C-149/17
Publication Date 2017-2018
Content Type ,


Judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on copyright and related rights, compensation in the event of file-sharing in breach of copyright and liability of the owner of internet connection used by family members.

Further information:

The German publisher Bastei Lübbe sought, before a German Regional Court (Landgericht München I), monetary compensation from Mr Michael Strotzer on account of an audio book in which it holds the copyright and related rights beings shared, for the purpose of downloading, with an unlimited number of users of a peer-to-peer internet exchange by means of an internet connection owned by Mr Strotzer. Mr Strotzer denied having himself infringed copyright and maintained that his parents also had access to that connection.

The Regional Court pointed out that it became apparent from case-law of the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) that such defence is sufficient under German law to exclude the owner of the internet connections from liability. In that context, on 16 June 2017 the Regional Court submitted to the CJEU a request to interpret the provisions of EU law on the protection of intellectual property rights.

The CJEU concluded on 18 October 2018 that the owner of an internet connection used for copyright infringements through filesharing cannot be exonerated from liability simply by naming a family member who might have had access to that connection. Rightholders must have at their disposal an effective remedy or means of allowing the competent judicial authorities to order the disclosure of necessary information.

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Commentary and Analysis
The IPKat Blog, 06/06/2018: Respect of family life cannot be abused to trump copyright protection, says AG Szpunar
The IPKat Blog, 19/10/2018: CJEU weighs on liability of owner of internet connection used to infringe copyright
Kluwer Copyright Blog, 11/02/2019: Bastei Lübbe: 'Fundamental Rights as a defence to circumvent enforcement of Copyright protection? No!', says CJEU

EUR-Lex: Judgment of the ECJ in Case C-149/17
CJEU, Press Release, 18/10/2018: Judgment in Case C-149/17 Bastei Lübbe GmbH & Co. KG v Michael Strotzer

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