In a press release the Hamburg court informs that it decided that a 16 year old file-sharer was only liable to pay damages of 15 Euros for each title he had illegally shared online. In this case the overall damages amounted to 30 Euros for two songs he had offered illegally on an Internet file sharing site. The claimant, who owned the distribution rights for these songs, had asked for damages of 300 Euros per title, which appears to be a fairly common amount usually awarded for such damages.
The Hamburg court further held that the father of the 16 year old was not liable for copyright infringement. While he had allowed his son to use the Internet access and was to regarded a "disturber" ("Störer") and had a duty of care ("Überwachungspflicht") concerning the Internet access that was used to commit the copyright infringing acts under the German principle of disturber liability. However, the father had not himself committed copyright infringement and as such was not liable for damages.
This Kat will certainly not go as far as to say that copyright infringement in German has just become a little bit cheaper, since every case very much will turn on its specific facts, but this decision by the Hamburg court nonetheless gives a good indication that the German courts appear to adopt a rather pragmatic real life approach when assessing the level of damages to be awarded.