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COPYRIGHT in GERMANY : How to protect my internet connection or.. what can I do?


Hi, dear hosts.
I rent an apartment in Berlin with airbnb.com.
As some of you probably know, in Germany it is strictly prohibited to use illegally the internet, like using file-sharing programs or websites (BitTorrent, Pirate Bay, Popcorn time, ETC…) for downloading/uploading or streaming files (movies, series, music, images, books, etc) with copyright. It is a bit complicated to know what is legal and what is illegal, till now it is not so clear to me.
I just had a serious problem, because a guest uploaded some series episodes (I don´t know if he knew what he was doing or not) and I, as the owner of the internet connection, was forced to pay 1090 euros to Warner Bros…
I read around in the internet and I found out that so many people had the same problem or something similar. They can ask you to pay from 800 euros till 2500 euros and also more.

SO, MY QUESTION IS: did you have the same experience?How do you do to protect your internet connection?is there any solution for that?

I thank you in advice for your answer and suggestions!
All the best


Do you provide information on this internet law to your guests either prior to booking, in your house rules or upon check-in?

Although we don’t have this restriction in the U.S., maybe it would be helpful to have guests sign an understanding of your house rules (and include the internet law) and explain the penalty they will be responsible for if involved with breaking the law.

Do any of the other listings in your area have anything written under their house rules about this internet law? You may also want to reach out to the hosts in your area to ask how they have dealt with this law.

I believe the only way you as a host can communicate with another host is to send an inquiry. It is silly but I know that is how one of the hosts started an airbnb support group in our area.

Hopefully Airbnb can be helpful for you.


Wow, what a huge fine! Your guest must not have been German or they would have been aware of this, no? I’m very curious as to why WB is so aggressively pursuing individuals in Germany?

I don’t know if there’s anyway to keep someone from illegally downloading on your internet connection once you’ve given access although it’s a great question. There’s an excellent site for AirBNB hosts, many of whom are in the EU. Post your question there:


Wow…I feel for you! Do hotels in your area allow internet access? - How do they prevent someone from downloading something on their laptop?

I would of course note this in your house rules but also state you need them to sign an individual statement agreeing to be responsible for any charges incurred by their party. Such a huge fine is involved it is important that it not get lost along with the rest of the house rules. IT must be made very, very clear to them that they MUST tell each person in the party what websites are prohibited. Often times the person signing the agreement does not share the house rules with the other members. And they need to be sure visitors don’t stop and just download something from one of those sites too.


Oh my! I wonder if you can install or define two different internet connections… one that is guest accessible and is “blocked” from downloading copyrighted materials, and one for your personal house. Is there any way to talk to your provider and ask for a block to be placed on the various peer-to-peer sites (Pirate Bay, etc.)? There must be a way. I will ask my techhie son. Maybe you can set up a VPN and partition it.

And by all means MENTION this to your guests! That was very rude of them by the way. Did you contact them afterwards?


Hello Margherita,

I don´t have this problem, but I want to make sure, that this will never accour to me.

In the Internet I have found an intresting site:

the internet page from the “Anwaltskanzlei Wildeborger solmecke” specialized on Internet Law. Perhaps this model contract can be used as well for Airbnb rentals? I will use this contract with my guests in the future. Kind regards. Arne


We kind of do have this restriction in the US, but it’s really the copyright holders that care. I’ve had three separate “cease and desist” letters from HBO all because of bloody Game of Thrones.

I have this in my house rules “* Absolutely no downloading of copyrighted materials (no bit torrent, for example). Any copyright infringement by guest subject to release of guests info to copyright holder for further action.”

It doesn’t stop anyone and recently we’ve been trying to get ourselves organized to change all of our router settings to lock out any of these sites. I’m not expert at this and it takes a bit of research to do it properly without impacting normal upload/download speeds for legitimate reasons.

THere is a post on another board somewhere that walks you through how to block this, but of course no method is full proof. It’s a real area of concern for me.


It’s basically impossible to block all such sites; they’re too many of them. It’s an arms race. And bittorrent is decentralized.

If you are concerned, I suggest telling your guests that if they want to use your net connection they have to sign a statement taking responsibility in case of infractions.
I don’t think that’s a great solution, though.


It’s a good start though.


Not only must they be liable for any damages incurred, they must also be held liable for the legal fees that may be incurred.

Chances are your ISP would not knowingly allow you to share your home internet connection with paying guests. This is similar to the insurance issue. So, if the plan is to push the blame, they will likely offer that retort.


There are a million ways to limit traffic on your net and/or monitor it. If you see a guest doing bit torrent you can shut them down - assuming you have it in your house rules.

“If you have a spare computer lying around with a spare NIC card, you could install Sophos UTM, which would sit behind your router and act as a hardware firewall. Amongst other things, you can see all URLs visited from any machine on your network. You can then of course block individual URLs or filter on things etc.”


Do a google search and spend the day looking at your options.


The problem in Germany is that you are responsible for what your guests are doing online. You have two possibillities to avoid trouble:

  1. Provide each guest personal access details and track their activities. Save logfiles to have a proof.
  2. Use a proxy service


You are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You are not responsible for what your guests do. There have been several lawsuits over this in Germany. You would have to proof that an AirBnB guest was in your house when the series were uploaded, that is very easy to do.

But… AirBnB is illegal in Berlin… so telling you were hosting AirBnB guests could backfire.

I blocked torrents on my router, so illegal uploading is (almost) impossible.


Hah, someone else who reads Stack Exchange. Finally.


The simplest solution is not to offer Internet service. There are lots of public free wifi sites in even the smallest towns. I decided I didn’t want the hassle of dealing with wifi, its not offered. I hope you’ve gon to the resolution centre to attempt reimbursement. Also, did you review this guest?

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