Quad9 Wins Appeal in Coercion-to-Block DNS Case with Sony

The Supreme Land Court of Dresden has granted an appeal by Quad9 in a case involving the blocking of pirate sites at the level of public DNS retails Quad9. The judicial order to block these sites was made at the request of Sony Music, with a fine of 250 thousand euros threatened if Quad9 fails to comply with the blocking requirements. This decision marks the final ruling of the court and is not subject to review.

Quad9’s previous appeal in the District Court of Hamburg was rejected, but the organization did not give up and appealed to the Supreme Land Court of Dresden. The higher authority agreed with Quad9’s position, ruling that the owner of a DNS resolving service cannot be held accountable for such services. These services are considered neutral intermediaries, and the resolution of DNS names does not play a significant role in the activities of pirate sites that violate copyrights.

The Dresden Court argued that Quad9 is not responsible for the transmission of copyrighted information nor does it choose the recipient or content of the information. Therefore, its level of responsibility in the spread of pirate content is incomparable to that of hosting providers who contribute to violations by providing resources for pirate sites. The role of Quad9’s DNS Resolver is simply to convert domain names into IP addresses. Quad9 users do not publish copyright violations; they only request the content.

In 2021, Sony Music successfully obtained a decision in Germany to block domain names involved in the distribution of copyrighted music content. The blocking order required the implementation of the Quad9 DNS service on servers, including the public DNS Resolver. It is important to note that the blocking order was made despite the lack of a direct connection between Quad9 and the systems of the sites that distribute such content. The only basis for the blocking order is the resolution of pirate domain names through DNS, which contributes to the violation of copyrights by Sony.

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