Streaming in focus: exciting pastime or offense?

Regardless of whether it is late at night, at the weekend, for breakfast ... Nowadays we no longer have to wait for a certain time, but can watch our favorite series or films or listen to the coolest songs when we feel like it. This pleasure enables us to do so-called streaming, in which data streams are transmitted over the Internet connection. Popular streaming services include Kkiste, Kinox or Tube 8. Streaming is really great and has given us a new dimension in home entertainment. But what does it mean that you keep hearing that streaming should be illegal and users can even be warned for it? In the following article, we will focus on streaming and its legal background to answer all your questions.

How does streaming work?

Let's start with the basics: streaming comes from the English language and is in the IT for data transmission. This data can just be music or movies that you can see in real time - if you have an upright and fast internet connection. And without the complete one Download on your PC. Exactly that is also the big difference to the likewise popular file sharing, which is however illegal, if copyrighted data (which films are usually so often) are distributed and duplicated.
In order to avoid recalculations and time delays in the direct playback of the media (would be quite annoying ...), the extra encoded (specially prepared) and compressed data, however, stored in the cache of your PC, the so-called cache. When you're done streaming, they're usually deleted directly from the cache, depending on the settings.

Live Streaming

If you are watching a live football match, or if you are using the current TV program, or if you are quickly making video calls with your friend in America, you are dealing with live streaming. The data is generated, sent and received directly at almost the same time. That is, the cache caching fails, but of course this can lead to disruptions.

On-demand streaming

In contrast, on-demand streaming calls "on demand" according to your needs from the server of a video-on-demand portal or similar. You can usually choose from an infinite number of films, videos and songs. The absolutely magnificent choice! Here is the cache used again, but you can choose when you stream your movie and do not have to expect interference. Best of all, if you need to get to where or any scene, you can easily do it with on-demand streaming. Buffering allows you to fast-forward and rewind as well as clicking the Pause button.

What do we prefer to stream?

Cinema Feeling @Home

Why drive to the cinema, search for a parking space, buy tickets, queue for popcorn ... - if you can get the cinema into the living room thanks to streaming? At least 77% of German Internet users think so, according to a Bitkom study.
Like everywhere else in life, the stream also enjoys free video portals like YouTube. But the classic TV has also learned: In the media libraries of many television stations, users can watch both live streams and past transmissions - if only for a certain time. You fell asleep at CSI just before the release? Never mind, just fetch it from the media library.

In addition to this free offer, there are of course the large paid services such as Amazon Video, Maxdome, Netflix or iTunes. Here you pay with your contributions to the originators of the media you have streamed, eg. B. record companies or film companies. Everything is completely legal.
It is also different - and not quite kosher: On certain portals you can also stream your favorite series, but for free. Mostly this is not licensed but stolen, a classic pirated copy. Let's be honest: That a film that has just come to the movies, can already be streamed for free, is more likely a fairy tale. Or illegal. At least the operators of such portals must accordingly expect penalties.

Music Streaming: Your favorite songs always with you

If the legal situation as described above is not that easy for movie streaming, music streaming is legal. You can listen to your favorite radio stations via live stream or use internet radios. With the latter, there is now an almost infinite range of styles - from Best of the 80ies to grunge and classic. However, of course you are bound to the program of the channels and can not intervene directly.

If you want to put together your favorite music program, you can fall back on Music On Demand services and their millions of titles - for example, the most popular providers Napster, Spotify or Deezer. With such services, there are often two variants, one for free with advertising or paid without.

Legal about streaming

The dear lawyer and the streaming are somehow not very good friends or just do not come on a green branch. There are different laws that are sometimes interpreted that way. These include copyright and, above all, the right to publish and the reproduction right. But clearly, as you can see in the whole of the admonition stories, unfortunately, this is not the case. There are also no clear court decisions.

Copyright (UrhG)

A film, song, etc. was clearly "invented" by someone. This someone is the author protected by this right. And above all, of course, his works as well as their distribution, publication and copy. The UrhG is accordingly quite extensive, as you can see in this list of contents:

Exploitation rights:

  • reproduction right
  • Right of public access
  • exhibition rights
  • broadcasting
  • Lecture, performance and performance rights
  • Right to reproduce radio broadcasts and make them available to the public
  • right of Distribution

Moral rights:

  • Recognition of authorship
  • right of publicity
  • Disfigurement of the work

As mentioned above, the following two laws are most interesting for streaming:

1. right of publicity

If something belongs to you, you may decide what happens to it. This is no different with media works. The author alone decides how and when he wants to show his work to an audience. He could just watch his movie in the quiet little room and make it accessible to anyone. Of course there is a lot of money involved, especially in the film business. Think only of the large-scale promotions, before a new blockbusters comes to the cinema - and how strictly it is protected, so that not even leaking in advance. If that happens, which happens again and again, mostly pirated copies are in circulation. Are these on portals to Download published, commits the respective operator of the portal a crime and the author can sue for damages. But that does not affect the user.

2. reproduction right

To duplicate a work, it also requires the consent of the author. Of course, this can usually be well paid for, for. For example, licenses that allow serious streaming providers to buy the works from their users. So everything has its legal correctness.
The big question that comes up in connection with this law is of course: Is streaming a duplication? This is exactly where the (legal) spirits divide. As mentioned above, a copy of the work is stored in the cache for a short time during streaming. That this is not an illegal duplication, streaming fans argue:

§ 44a UrhG: Permitted are temporary acts of reproduction which are fleeting or concomitant and constitute an integral and essential part of a technical process and whose sole purpose is

  1. a transfer in a network between third parties through an intermediary or
  2. a lawful use
    of a work or other subject-matter, and which have no independent economic significance.

Specifically, it is about this "fleeting or accompanying". Clearly, however, this argument is not: Even if it is only temporary - actually it should not be correct that millions of users consume media for free - or not? Is caching really necessary only for the purpose of higher film quality? Is not streaming illegal anyway anyway?
You see, the thing is complicated. To be on the safe side, you should use paid on-demand portals. There are already many possibilities today, which are not extremely expensive either.

What's up with the much-discussed warnings?

The warning is an instrument of civil law and a document that is sent by a lawyer. It warns the person concerned in concrete terms and in detail that or how he behaved unlawfully (in our case, that he has infringed the copyright). Furthermore, the ultimate goal of a warning, namely the avoidance of a process, in the foreground of the document. This means that the author does not want to go to court with a lawsuit, but settle the matter out of court. This of course is associated with costs for each "accused". However, such a warning is certainly cheaper than a costly and time-consuming process.

How can you imagine a warning?

Quite simply said, a letter of reminder is a letter that either flutters in the mailbox or even ends up in your inbox via e-mail. Most warnings are similar and have the following content:

  • Designation of the persons concerned
  • Description of copyright infringement and related laws
  • Request for omission and signature of a declaration of discontinuance (in which the person concerned confirms that he is no longer committing copyright infringement)
  • Threat of legal action
  • Mention of deadlines
  • Power of attorney

Can you be warned for streaming?

Clearly, the legal situation is not and also quite complicated, as we have already reported. At the moment, however, it is unlikely that you will receive a warning for pure streaming. Attention: This soft "all clear" refers to real streaming, not to file sharing! Penalties, such as the "Luisa case" shows.

Unfortunately, crooks are not far behind where uncertainties prevail: precisely because of this currently very unclear legal situation, there are repeated warnings to users of streaming who are intimidating and are looking for quick money.

Although there are currently no examples of warnings to users who have been sent legitimate - on operators illegal portal this is not true. They may be prosecuted for the illegal publication and distribution of copyrighted works.

We hope you got a first good overview of streaming. In a nutshell, as a user you are not liable to prosecute and streaming is generally not illegal. Unless the files are from an illegal source. If you want to be sure, you should use serious reputable services such as Netflix or Spotify for your music and movie enjoyment, paying the author licenses. One thing you definitely can not do, say: lose the fun of streaming!


Created on:04/24/2018

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