Sony Music claims DNS service is involved in domain copyright infringement it resolves


Sony Music alleges that public interest organization Quad9, a free, recursive, Anycast DNS platform, must stop resolving domain names that Sony says are involved in copyright infringement.

Editorial by Glyn Moody by Techdirt

One of the characteristics of maximalist copyright societies is their unlimited sense of entitlement. No matter how much copyright is extended, whether in duration or scope, they want it to be extended even more. No matter how harsh the measures designed to tackle copyright infringement, they want them to be even tougher. And no matter how much a business, organization, or person may be linked to alleged copyright infringement, they want even viewers punished.

A disturbing example of this is Quad9, a free, recursive, anycast DNS platform (Cloudflare has technical details on what “recursive” means in this context). It is operated by the Quad9 Foundation, a Swiss non-profit public utility organization, whose operating budget comes from sponsorships and donations. In other words, he’s one of the good guys, who tries to protect millions of users around the world from malware and phishing, and doesn’t get anything in return. But that’s not how Sony Music GmbH sees it:

In June, Quad9 received a notice from the court in Hamburg, Germany (310 O 99/21) stating that Quad9 must stop resolving certain domain names which Sony Music GmbH claims were involved in the infringement of properties which Sony claims , are covered by their copyright. Quad9 has no relationship with any of the parties involved in distributing or linking to the content, and Quad9 acts as a standard DNS recursive resolver for users in Germany to resolve these and other names.

Sony Music is not alleging that Quad9 directly infringes copyright, but that its DNS service allows people to access a website that contains links to material on a second website that infringes copyright. On this basis, the Hamburg court used German indirect liability law to order Quad9 to stop resolving the names of these sites. But as the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte explains, there is a crazy twist here. In German law:

[Internet] service providers who provide access to illegal information or transmit such information are expressly no longer liable for damage or withdrawal, and no injunction can be issued against them. However, the Hamburg Regional Court assumes that Quad9 cannot invoke this liability privilege because it does not itself route the copyright infringing information from A to B, but simply provides indirect access to it. This understanding of the law leads to the contradictory result that Quad9 is held liable for copyright infringements precisely because it has even less to do with copyright infringements than ISPs, who are not. also not involved in copyright infringements but at least pass the data in the issue.

Quad9’s FAQ on the case states that if it is allowed to stand:

this would set a dangerous precedent for all services used to retrieve web pages. Suppliers of browsers, operating systems or anti-virus software could be held liable for interferers in the same way if they do not prevent the accessibility of copyright infringing websites.

The past history of media companies suggests that, given such a capacity, they would indeed prey on all of these ancillary operators, in a senseless quest to put every aspect of the Internet at the service of copyright. .

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora or Mastodon.



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