The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that banking institutions can not rely on banking secrecy when the owner of a trademark wants to know who the holder of a bank account is which has been used for paying counterfeit items.
In the initial case, the Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg refused to give information on the holder of the account.
This verdict supports rights holders who have paid for a counterfeit item and therefore the perpetrators account information is exposed.
In the case of copyright infringements on the Internet this is normally not the case because there are 3rd parties involved. Then the right to information is not enough. According to the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, the rights holder has no right to be informed about the uploaders bank account details.
If a registrar of a domain knows that there are untruthful statements on this website (and this is confirmed by the owner of the page) and he does not take action to prevent this, he is liable as a so-called „interferer“.
According to a verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), an operator of a commercial online forum can be responsible for third party comments. If he does not remove offensive comments without delay, he has to pay damages:
“where third-party user comments are in the form of hate speech and direct threats to the physical integrity of individuals (…) the rights and interest of others and of society as a whole may entitle contracting states to impose liability on internet news portals, without contravening article 10 ECHR, if they fail to take measures to remove clearly unlawful comments without delay, even without notice from the alleged victim or from third parties” (Paragraph 159 of the Grand Chamber judgment)
Looking at this verdict you can assume that commercial hosters who do not take measures against illegal content have to fear damages in the near future.
The American „Digital Citizens Alliance“ has examined the annual ad revenue of piracy sites. They estimated the ad turnover to be of 209 million US $ (€ 188 million) per year; nearly as much as last years turnover of US $ 227 million. The study is based on almost 600 sites with a wealth of take-down notices at Google.
British Incopro conducted a study into the revenue sources for websites making available copyright content without consent in the EU. The report analyses the revenue sources for the 250 most popular websites accessible to users in key territories in the European Union (Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom):
570 out of the total 622 sites (91.6%) examined in this study have at least one source of revenue;
Advertising is the predominant revenue source for the top 250 unauthorised sites
Excluding malware, the top three advertisers are
• Bet365 (Gambling)
• William Hill (Gambling)
• Aliexpress (Retail)
A new American study shows that the blocking of 19 major piracy sites had a positive effect in Great Britain. The use of legal offers (such as Netflix) increased by an average of 12 %. The impact on the physical distribution of DVD and Blu-rays was not examined.
Also the „IFPI Digital Music Report 2015“ points out that the blocking of the main piracy pages is successful: In the UK, the number of visits to BitTorrent sites was reduced by 45% from April 2012 to April 2014.
A study by the European Commission’s in-house science service states that the closure of the piracy site „kino.to“ had only short-term effects. The consumer switched to other illegal piracy portals.
This result is not groundbreaking; these facts had been known for a long time. But the authors conclusion that it is therefore not economically worthwhile to fight against piracy, is really embarrassing.
Such a conclusion, based on a single case, could damage their reputation as scientists. Furthermore, to evaluate the prosecution of crimes in an economic sense is questionable. No one would argue about stopping bank robbers been arrested, because there will always be another bank robber.
According to the news portal Tarnkappe, the new piracy portal hdfilme.org uses Google as a host for its streams. This is not the first case. Google’s German subsidiary was informed about hosting pirated streams in March 2014.
The illegal distribution of movie files via file- and videohosters is damaging the movie markets.
To calculate the damages we counted the files that were deleted in 2014: 3 million files were removed (notice and take-down procedures in the name of copyright owners).
With an average use of 200 downloads or streams per file we found out that more than 600 million movies were illegally distributed.
Not every illegal version would have been bought. Studies show that circa only every tenth movie would have been bought or rented.
This results in a financial damage in the region of 600 million euros. The damage is caused by file- and videohosters, P2P is not included in this calculation
How important are payment providers for the distribution of illegal content?
To answer this question a German report looked at 55 file and videohosters in 2014.
Every hoster had a source of income. 89% published ads and 69% offered the customer pay to use premium services, which normally means faster and unlimited downloads.
The study analyzed 38 hosters with payments in more detail:
The average price was € 8.30 per month or € 54.30 per year.
Top payments methods of the 38 hosters were:
Top payment providers were:
The consumers often don’t know to whom they pay. The recipients of the payments are often unknown and the hosters often have no (reliable) legal notice.
If you look at the behaviour of the hosters you will know why: Nearly 70 % of the hosters don’t delete illegal files within 48 hours after they receive a take down notice from the copyright owner.
Only one of these hosters acted in accordance to a verdict of the Federal Court and searched illegal files on portals and deleted them.