The Higher Regional Court Munich has ruled that Vodafone must continue to block the illegal movie streaming website Kinox.to. The internet provider is in a legal fight with the German movie distribution and production company Constantin Film over the illegal streaming of the movie “Fack Ju Göhte 3”’.
An earlier ruling of a lower Munich court forced Vodafone to block access to Kinox.to and today’s ruling means that block will remain in place. Only German Vodafone subscribers with a cable modem are affected, German Vodafone DSL customers are not affected.
To comply with the ruling, Vodafone set up a rather ineffective DNS redirect so that customers are redirected to a page on the internet provider’s website that explains access to Kinox.to has been blocked. The DNS hijack can be easily bypassed by manually changing the DNS servers to one of the free alternatives provided by Google (22.214.171.124), CloudFlare (126.96.36.199) or IBM (188.8.131.52).
Vodafone has stated it regrets the court’s decision and the company considers further legal action.
The case between Constantin Film and Vodafone evolved around a German legal term called “Störerhaftung”’. This means that anyone who contributes to e.g. copyright infringement can be (partly) held liable. In case of Vodafone, the company can be held liable as it provides access to illegal movie streaming site Kinox.to, of which the judge ruled that pretty much all the movies on the website are illegal. The law can force internet providers to block access to such websites as it considers providing access to the website as contribution to the copyright infringement.
Constantin Film first tried to contact the actual copyright infringers, the administrators of the website Kinox.to. When the administrators didn’t respond to Constantin Film, they held Vodafone liable for the copyright infringement and demanded that the internet provider blocked access to Kinox.to. The case first went to a lower court, after which Vodafone filed an appeal against the decision and the case went to the Higher Regional Court which confirmed the ruling.