Previously, Internet platforms were not liable as perpetrators if users violated copyright with uploaded content. The Federal Court of Justice has now changed its previous case law.

Under certain circumstances, internet platforms such as YouTube can also be sued for damages in Germany for copyright infringement.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe changed its previous case law with several announced judgments, according to which the providers are not liable as perpetrators if users violate copyright with uploaded content. The BGH has now adapted its decisions to EU law. (Az. I ZR 135/18 and others)

In one case, producer Frank Peterson is suing YouTube because users have repeatedly posted videos with music by singer Sarah Brightman there without permission. In the other cases, publishers, music and film companies and the collecting society Gema are suing the Uploaded service of the Swiss company Cyando AG.

All procedures must be renegotiated, as the BGH decided. On the one hand, the courts of appeal then have to examine whether the platforms are doing enough on their own to prevent copyright infringement, whether they react immediately after receiving corresponding information, or whether they operate a business model that encourages users to commit such offences. They must also decide whether the requirements for public communication are also met after a legal situation for sharing online content that has only been in force since August 2021.