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Germany: Website Blocking – A Paradigm Shift

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A Munich Regional Court in Germany passed an order of blocking a copyright infringing website “KINOX.TO”. This judgment is a welcome development against all the pirate websites violating or contravening the copyright law in Germany. The court confirmed the liability of the website named “KINOX.TO” by applying the ratio determined in the case of “storerhaftung des access-provider” in 2016. The principle introduced in the “storerhaftung” case was with respect to conferring liability on the access providers which may not be the preparatory or direct infringer of the website but nonetheless they shall be held liable for willful and casual breach of duty. The respondent in the present case was streaming the movie of the applicant named “Fack Ju Göhte 3” on its website which was still running in the cinemas. 

The decision was in the favour of the plaintiff, restraining the respondent from providing access to the movie to its customer. In addition to this, a penalty of €250,000.00 was imposed on the respondent. A more pertinent fact is that this judgment comes after the recent amendments that were incorporated in the German Telemedia Act in 2017 limiting the liability of access providers to a certain extent. The present judgment becomes a seminal piece in the sense that it is the first time in the history of Germany that any legal order has been passed for blocking a website in the country.

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