DNS resolvers themselves are not considered to be perpetrators when copyrights are infringed online via a domain, ruled the Higher Regional Court of Dresden, thereby overturning the previous judgements of the lower courts.
The Dresden Higher Regional Court has ruled in favour of the DNS resolver Quad9 in the copyright dispute Sony vs Quad9. The role of a DNS resolver is to provide an IP address in response to queries for a domain name. After the Hamburg Regional Court in the preliminary injunction proceedings, obligated Quad9 to stop resolving certain domain names, the Leipzig Regional Court went one step further in the main proceedings and convicted Quad9 as the perpetrator of a copyright infringement.
These services do not become perpetrators themselves when allegedly copyright-infringing content is accessible online via a domain. Rather, as neutral intermediaries under EU and German law, they are to be exempt from liability, the Higher Regional Court of Dresden has now ruled, completely overturning the previous judgements from Hamburg and Leipzig. Furthermore, the plaintiff had not made sufficient efforts to assert a subsidiary claim via Section 7 (4) TMG.
“This judgement is good news for a free and open Internet,” says eco Director Names & Numbers Thomas Rickert, whose law firm (rickert.law) represents Quad9 in these proceedings. eco has supported Quad9 since the beginning of the proceedings around two and a half years ago, including with expertise from eco Board Member Klaus Landefeld.
In addition to registries and registrars, certification authorities and other infrastructure service providers, resolvers are also merely transmitting intermediaries, the judges emphasised, fully endorsing the rights of the Swiss-based private foundation Quad9.
For detailed information on the case and the judgement itself, please visit the Quad9 blog. You can also support Quad9 there.
For eco members, an informational webinar with Thomas Rickert, John Todd (General Manager, Quad9) and Bill Woodcock (Chairman of the Foundation Council, Quad9) will take place on 15 December 2023 at 4 pm, in which the proceedings as a whole and the implications for infrastructure providers will be discussed. To participate in the webinar, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org