Every now and then the question arises in court if websites are protected under copyright law. Website technology is progressing and so time and again new aspects have to be considered by the courts. Recently, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ruled on a case of alleged plagiarism of a website that was based on the Open Source Content Management System “Typo 3” (OLG Hamburg, decision of February 29, 2012, ref. 5 U 10/10). Continue reading
In order to pursue copyright infringements, rightholders need the names and addresses of the infringers. This creates special problems in file sharing cases where the identity of those who illegally use file sharing systems needs to be found out by checking who’s behind a specific IP address. Detecting copyright infringements and collecting the IP addresses of the responsible persons are just the first steps to this end. But then, the rightholders have no choice but to ask the respective ISP to hand out the data it has about the IP addresses discovered. ISPs for their part need to protect their customers and their business and have to comply with strict statutory data protection provisions. Thus, ISPs and copyright holders are in a permanent conflict of interests. Continue reading
In 2010, the German Parliament set up a commission of enquiry (“Enquete-Kommission”) on “Internet and Digital Society” that looks at future strategies in this field of policy (http://www.bundestag.de/internetenquete/Hintergrund_Enquete/). The idea behind such commissions, which have existed and exist in a number of other fields as well, is to collect and evaluate information about the impact of technical, economic and social developments in the relevant fields to provide the Parliament with recommendations for its further political decisions.
The Internet and Digital Society commission just recently turned to a topic of the highest importance for the use and development of digital technologies when it decided to form – among several others – a project group called “Interoperability, Standards, Open Source”. Continue reading