“I have just received a copyright infringement notice, saying that I have violated the copyright law by illegally downloading a film, music, or any other web content! What should I do now?!” Are you panicking now because you may have downloaded illegally, or you have no idea who used your internet in a way that infringed the law? When it comes to illegal downloading, Germany has a really strict law about it. Make sure you do the right thing if you have receive such a notice.
1. Was the illegal downloading committed by your kids?
The Bundesgerichtshof ruled that parents cannot always be held liable for copyright infringements committed by their kids. However, parents are expected by the Federal Court to inform their children of the possible legal risks when they download materials from the internet illegally.
Generally, the parents are liable for their children, above the age of 7 years children can theoretically be held liable (only when children understand the wrongdoing) otherwise parents stay liable. It is advised that you educate your children above 12 years about illegal downloading in Germany and do not let younger children on the computer alone without protective settings (child mode).
2. Don’t ignore the notice!
Even when you are sure you or your kids did not commit copyright infringement, do not ignore the notice, as someone else who has your internet connection could have downloaded the materials (e.g. your neighbor or your guests).
Once you have received this formal notice, consult a lawyer right away. If you ignore it or delay your action, you increase the possibility of legal actions being taken against you.
3. How to prevent this from happening?
Well, to start with, do not download anything with copyright illegally! And protect your home internet by not sharing with your neighbors. If you have already shared, change the password.
If you have problem understanding the letter written in German, book a helper with us and we will take it from there.