- Jul 27, 2015
Sony Music has obtained an injunction that requires the freely available DNS-resolver Quad9 to block a popular pirate site. The order, issued by the District Court in Hamburg, Germany, is the first of its kind. The Quad9 foundation has already announced that it will protest the judgment, which could have far-reaching consequences.
Copyright holders have made serious work of website blocking in Germany. A few months ago a voluntary agreement was announced with the country’s largest ISPs, which agreed to block pirate sites after a verification process. This is a major win for rightsholders, but one that can be easily defeated. The Internet providers use relatively simple DNS blockades which can be circumvented by switching to third-party DNS resolvers such as Google, Cloudflare or Quad9, which are all free to use. However, that loophole may not last forever.
Last week Sony Music obtained an injunction at the District Court of Hamburg which requires the Swiss DNS-resolver Quad9 to block access to a site that’s frequently used to host pirated music. While the site remains unnamed, the consequences could be far-reaching. The Hamburg court found that the DNS service is not eligible for the liability protections that other third-party intermediaries such as ISPs and domain registrars typically enjoy. And if Quad9 fails to comply with the injunction, it will have to pay a fine of 250,000 euros per ‘infringing’ DNS query plus potentially two years in prison. One of the arguments that Sony brought up in court was that Quad9 already blocks various problematic sites voluntarily. In fact, the DNS-resolver promotes threat blocking as a feature.
Sony Music has obtained an injunction that requires the freely available DNS-resolver Quad9 to block a popular pirate site.