Stream-ripping site loses legal appeal in Germany

A German court has issued a ruling against a stream-ripping site. ZeeZee sought out user-requested tracks in online radio streams and then made copies of those songs available for download. Universal Music Group brought a lawsuit against ZeeZee in 2014 and successfully won an injunction against the site from Regional Court of Hamburg. The same decision was reached by the Appeal Court of Hamburg following an appeal from ZeeZee earlier this month.

The case highlighted a slightly different take on stream-ripping, which has become a frequent approach to piracy and copyright infringement in the streaming era. ZeeZee’s defense attempted to shift responsibility to users since Germany has some legal exemptions for private copying, but the courts ruled that since ZeeZee had fetched and reproduced the songs, the illegal copies would be attributed to the company rather than its users.

“Another clear signal from a German court: Anyone wishing to derive personal gain from another’s content by hiding behind the private copy rule must be prepared to be unmasked and suffer the legal consequences,” said René Houareau, managing director of legal and political affairs at the German trade group BVMI.

The Higher Regional Court of Munich issued a similar ruling against, which followed a similar model to ZeeZee, in November 2018.

Anna Washenko