Last month in Germany, the Federal Court made a ruling which moved to limit the liability of parents for their minor children’s illegal music sharing. The court’s decision stipulates that parents are not liable for the illegal music file sharing of their minor child if they have educated their children enough about the prohibition of participating in file sharing on the Internet.
The ruling represents a setback for the music industry, which demanded several thousand Euros for damages and legal fees. The case was triggered by a 13-year-old who illegally downloaded music and spread it on the net.
As Florian Drücke, the Head of the Federal Association of the Music Industry, warned, the judgment does not mean that parents no longer need to worry about the surfing habits of their children. “The recent statement of the Supreme Court should not be ‘misunderstood’ as a free ride for parents and their children to careless file sharing,” explained Drücke. “What concrete steps parents must take, especially for repeated violations, remains to be seen in the view of for the judgment.”
The issue is not about monitoring the children — we know that over-supervision is not a recipe for success when it comes to 13-year-olds. Rather, it’s about building their awareness for the value of music, films and books. The question is, how do you do that?