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Parents Not Liable For Their Son's Illegal Music Sharing, Says German Court 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-god-help-them-if-he-illegally-shares-bratwurst dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an IDG News report: "A German couple are not liable for the filesharing activities of their 13-year old son because they told him unauthorized downloading and sharing of copyrighted material was illegal, and they were not aware the boy violated this prohibition, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled on Thursday. ... The ruling of the Federal Court of Justice reversed a ruling of the higher regional court of Cologne, which found the parents were liable for the illegal filesharing because they failed to fulfill their parental supervision. That court said the parents could have installed a firewall on their son's computer as well as a security program that would have made it possible to only allow the child to install software with the consent of his parents. Besides that, the parents could have checked their son's PC once a month, and then the parents would have spotted the Bearshare icon on the computers' desktop, according to the Cologne court. 'The Federal Court overturned the decision of the Appeal Court and dismissed it,' the court said."
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Parents Not Liable For Their Son's Illegal Music Sharing, Says German Court

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  • Re:Come on! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:13AM (#42000779)
    Exactly! That's why I keep my son locked in a cage, except when he has to go potty. God forbid he ever leaves my sight, as he might buy nuclear arms behind my back... or worse... download some old music illegally!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:30AM (#42000923)

    If the 13-year-old commits murder, are the parents liable? Are the parents liable for any of the kid's law-breaking actions?

    How's downloading illegal music any different?

    That would depend on whether or not they've neglected their parental duty of supervision.

    In this case the court found that it is sufficient to teach the kid the rules that apply when using the internet because the parents had no indication that their son would not comply.
    Of course after this incident they do have to watch and/or restrict his internet access by additional means.

    The same applies to any action of your kids - if the parents have fulfilled their parental supervision within a reasonable extent they're off the hook. "Reasonable" obviously depends on the the circumstances and ultimately the court's ruling, but spying on your kid every second of the day is surely deemed "not reasonable".

  • by cpghost (719344) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:20AM (#42001389) Homepage

    How's downloading illegal music any different?

    Well, downloading illegal music is a criminal offense. Illegally downloading (legal) music is a civil offense. Illegal music in Germany would e.g. be Nazi songs etc...

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