Internet security non-profit Quad9, a non-profit Swiss DNS provider delivering a free service replacing a default ISP or enterprise DNS configuration, has filed an objection against an interim injunction obtained by Sony Music Germany from the Hamburg Regional Court. This injunction requires Quad9 to implement network blocks which might establish a precedent for other Internet companies caught up in copyright disputes in Germany and other EU countries.
Unlike many other DNS resolvers, Quad9’s free service is privacy-friendly and safeguards against phishing and malware assaults by not keeping personal data about browsing behavior. Quad9 is now required to execute DNS blocking for a domain name mentioned in the injunction that resolves to a website suspected of supplying links to copyrighted content as a result of the interim order imposed by the Hamburg Regional Court.
In its fight against Sony, Quad9 has the support of the German-based Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte e.V. (GFF) and the eco Association of the Internet Industry (eco.de). The GFF is a non-profit organization located in Berlin that was established in 2015. Its goal is to create a long-term structure for effective strategic litigation in the areas of human and civil rights in Germany and throughout Europe. The GFF’s current lawsuits are focused on preserving equal freedom for all, as well as protecting privacy, freedom of information, and the press.
“If non-profit IT security projects like Quad9 must bear the costs of combating copyright infringements, they can no longer offer their services in Germany in a way that covers their costs,” said GFF project coordinator Julia Reda. “As a result, everyone’s IT security suffers.”
Setting a Precedent for European Cybersecurity
“We view this case with Sony Music as a much bigger issue outside of Quad9’s mission to keep the Internet safe,” said John Todd, Managing Director of Quad9. “This eventual final outcome of this ruling will set a precedent for European cybersecurity and policy. This isn’t just about Quad9’s DNS recursive security capabilities; we believe it has a much broader application to a wide range of internet services, and service providers should understand the implications of either outcome of the case.”
“The German Bundestag abolished the German interferer liability for Internet access providers years ago to facilitate the operation of open WIFIs,” added Reda. “The view of the Hamburg Regional Court, according to which DNS providers such as Quad9 cannot invoke this exemption from liability, must not be allowed to prevail under any circumstances.”
“Since the announcement of the ruling in late June, Quad9 has received significant support from the Internet community, both in public statements as well as support in-kind from partners who are helping with our objection to the ruling,” added John Todd. “We are especially grateful to the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) for the excellent legal support and ongoing advice they’ve been able to provide to our legal team at Rickert Law.”