“Computer-experienced.” In a case appealed to the German supreme court (Bundesgerichtshof) in Karlsruhe, a spokesman for the music industry said most parents of children accused of illegal music downloads were “computer-experienced.” Yet the high court decided on 15 Nov 2012 that German parents who have informed their children about the illegality of certain downloads are not financially responsible when their children are accused of making such downloads. One of the judges said constantly checking your child’s activities as the overturned decision would have required was no way to raise a responsible young person. The music industry is still allowed to sue children directly, however.

Update on 21 Mar 2013: This decision, now called the “Morpheus” decision, has been augmented by another in Cologne stating that the main renter of a shared apartment cannot be held financially responsible for files illegally downloaded by roommates. In some cases.

Update on 08 Jan 2014: The Bundesgerichtshof in Karlsruhe decided that a father could not be sued by music companies for the downloading and uploading behavior of a child past the age of consent, even if the family apartment’s internet connection was in the father’s name. ARD’s legal correspondent Frank Bräutigam said the decision also included the conclusion that parents are no longer required to have instructed adult children about legal handling of copyrighted materials.

(ComPUTer   err FAR en.)

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