German court finds domain registrar liable for torrent site’s copyright infringement

by Loek EssersPC World A domain name registrar can be held liable for the copyright infringements of a website it registered if it is obvious the domain is used for infringements and the registrar does nothing to prevent it, the Regional Court of Saarbrücken in Germany has ruled.   The court ruled in a case between Universal Music and Key-Systems, the German registrar of the domain name for h33t.com, a torrent tracker site. Universal had wanted to prevent unauthorized distribution of Robin Thicke’s album Blurred Lines, said Volker Greimann, Key-Systems’ general counsel, in an email. While Key-Systems argued that it was not responsible for the copyright infringement, the court ruled that the registrar had a duty to investigate after notification of infringing activity and had to take corrective action in case of obvious violations, Greimann said. “The courts’ definition of what is obviously violating is however extremely broad and the duty to act is expanded to deactivation of the entire domain even if only one file or link is infringing,” he said.