We, as a company, are built on the principles of the free and open internet. Making a service provider, such as a DNS provider, who are so far removed from an act of copyright infringement culpable to the same legal obligations as an alleged infringer, in our opinion, goes too far.
It places a technical burden on a company, in this case a non-profit DNS resolver, to prevent piracy, when more direct and less overarching methods of protecting copyright exist. We feel that such a system would cause smaller companies to implement blocks out of the fear of legal implications, rather than actually representing what the users of the internet actually want and require.
Given that Quad9 has been targeted for this case as a non-profit, rather than the hundreds of other providers that exist offering the same service, in our belief is to cause undue financial burden on a non-profit and secure an easier win for Sony in Germany.
If this case sets precedent it could force even unrelated companies to have to administer technical blocks to traffic online that should be treated equally and fairly. In Germany, and other countries, the burden of offering a legal challenge and refusing to comply with a request you don’t believe is right falls onto the defender, which would put many small companies off making a challenge and they would choose to “quietly comply” feeling they have no other recourse.
It therefore comes as no surprise that we believe that the act of recursive DNS resolution is not within the justifiable legal boundaries of control by rightsholders during infringement litigation. In order for the DNS to remain a stable, secure, and trusted platform, we would urge policymakers and regulators to clarify and reiterate the long-standing understanding that recursive resolution is a neutral technical function that should not be subject to blocking demands imposed by private parties based on data that has not been ruled upon by a suitable and fair court process.
Further, we believe that systems that are designed for providing cybersecurity (be they DNS-based or otherwise) should not be made available to be repurposed for other goals against the interest and intent of the service operator or the end user. This type of corruption of core internet infrastructure risks eroding the trust in both the operators and a technology that is core to the continued well-being of the internet and that of the citizens who use it.
We support Quad9 in their objection to the ruling of the Hamburg Court of (Case 310 O 99/21), and hope that the court finds in favour of the defendant.
You can find more information on Quad9’s Blog where they will keep posting updates. If you can support them, either through financial donation, or making the story known by more people, I’m sure they would appreciate the help, both financially and morally, which I can only imagine is a terribly demoralising time for them.