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E-mail address is sufficient: Youtube does not have to issue IP addresses in case of violations

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 | Gadgets

The Youtube video service does not have to provide telephone and connection data to the rightsholders in case of copyright infringement by users. As the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main judged, however, the claim for information includes the e-mail address of the users. However, telephone numbers and IP addresses should not be issued (judgment of 22 August 2017, ref .: 11 U 71/16).

In a specific case a German filmmaker had complained. According to the court, it has the rights to two films, which were published by users under a pseudonym. First, the company had asked the Google subsidiary to disclose the clown names and the postage of users. After Youtube had declared not to know this data, the applicant wanted to know other data such as e-mail address and telephone numbers as well as the IP addresses under which the users had logged in.
Address includes e-mail address
While the district court of Frankfurt am Main had still completely rejected the complaint, the OLG of the filmmaker was right. According to the judgment, the claim to claim under Article 101 of the Copyright Act includes the name and address of the persons concerned. Under the concept of "address" also fall the e-mail address, wrote the court. "The fact that the term" address "in German originally meant only the postal address is historically justified," it says. It is all about specifying the place where you could "write" someone.

According to the court, the corresponding legislation was adopted in 1990. At that time, the e-mail traffic had "hardly any practical significance". If you set "Address" the same as "Address", this also clearly captures the e-mail address. Here, too, there is an indication "where one has to write, so that what is written reaches the recipient". Only this understanding of the term adequately takes account of the changed communication habits and the triumph of electronic commerce.
IP address does not allow communication
However, this equality of "address" and "address" does not apply to an IP address. "In the case of IP addresses – despite the word component 'address', this is not an 'address', since the IP address does not have any communication function, and it serves solely to identify the terminal from which a particular web page is accessed "writes the court.
The verdict is not yet legally binding. Due to the fundamental importance of the case, the Higher Regional Court allowed a revision of the judgment before the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). Should the BGH confirm the verdict in the event of a revision, the rights holders could try to find the users' stock data via the mail provider. The fact that Youtube users deposited their clues and their actual postal address there, however, is rather unlikely.


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