Quad9 & Sony Music: German Injunction Update for February 2023

February 2023 Update – Our Commitment to Internet Sovereignty for All

As discussed previously, Quad9 and Sony Music are nearing the February 2023 hearing in Leipzig Regional Court which may determine if Quad9 will be required to block resolution of specific domain names that resolve to websites that link to other websites containing files that Sony asserts are violating their copyright. Although this blocking applies only to Quad9’s services located in Germany, by bringing this court case to fruition, Sony Music — and those who may eventually follow — appear to be pushing the idea that they are above and beyond the principles of freedom, decentralisation, and proportionality.

Quad9 maintains that:

  • DNS resolution is a conduit of metadata, not content delivery.
  • Metadata is simply bystander information vs. violator and rights holders who are first person parties in the dispute
  • DNS resolution should be universally accessible to everyone in all communities & nations, and should provide equal results regardless of location.
  • DNS recursive resolution must be curated in a way that is aligned with the user as the beneficiary.
  • Recursive DNS is not an effective or reasonable place to impose external policies that are undesired or unrequested by the end user.
  • Imposing content blocking far away from the source of the content puts costs and punishment in the wrong location, and reduces incentives for investment and local implementation which in turn reduces privacy and security.
  • The ability of corporate entities to impose their will on unrelated third parties such as DNS resolution services creates a chilling effect which will reduce free information exchange, and introduces a significant risk of overreach and abuse against which there is little recourse.
  • Copyrights should be respected and rights holders should pursue violators, but recursive DNS is not originating the violative content. It is a witness to the violation and not the place to enact technically burdensome policies because of the distance and ineffective nature of the results.

Quad9 stands firm in our commitment to Internet freedoms, safety, and privacy. Your continued support and donations are vital to our mission, especially as we find ourselves attacked by organizations attempting to use their power and wealth to try to force us into deciding who can and cannot access information on the internet: Quad9 Sony Legal Case

What’s Happened Up Until This Point

As reported previously, Sony Music Entertainment Germany, via the Hamburg Court in Germany, imposed an injunction on Quad9 which requires us to block resolution of domain names which Sony asserts are violating their copyright. This blocking applies only to Quad9’s services in Germany and has not been applied in other nations. Quad9 is not headquartered in Germany but is subject to this ruling because in 2021 — three months prior to Sony’s filing — Quad9 moved headquarters to Switzerland. Given that Switzerland is a signatory on the Lugano Convention, civil lawsuits of this nature are permitted to cross borders. Check out our blog post for an in-depth explanation of the injunction and potential impact to freedom of access to information that this hearing could have on a global scale.

The Quad9 team continues to fight for online privacy, security, and safety along with allies like the GFF who are providing support. We will provide updates to this case as they develop. Quad9 is a nonprofit organization whose operational budget comes entirely from sponsorships and donations, and our interests are aligned with end users and not with commercial outcomes. You can find more information about our organization and support us by visiting here.