What deadlines apply to warnings, what deadline do I have to observe?
Regardless of whether it is labour law or internet law, warnings are unwelcome news for those affected. In particular, if they receive a warning for illegal file sharing, they are sometimes threatened with high costs. But this only applies if the warning letter is valid.
For the various types of warnings, such as warnings for file sharing, warnings in employment law and warnings for copyright infringement, there are different deadlines that must be observed by the person being warned and also by the person issuing the warning.
In order to proceed against a warning, it is therefore all the more important to understand these deadlines so as not to make any mistakes.
Deadlines for file sharing warnings
For a cease-and-desist letter for file sharing, the aggrieved party usually sets a deadline for the issuing of a cease-and-desist declaration and the payment of damages by his lawyer (e.g. Waldorf Frommer) to the person being warned (consumer). The aggrieved party must note the following: the deadline must allow the person being warned to seek help within a “reasonable” period of time, e.g. from a mediator or lawyer (via abmahnungshilfe.de).
What exactly is a “reasonable period of time”?
There is no precise legal definition of what is considered “reasonable” in this case. Certainly a few hours are not sufficient, most warning letters submitted via abmahnungshilfe.de contain a time limit of two to four weeks.
Nevertheless, you should take the deadlines stated in the warning notice for file sharing seriously. It is important here that you contact the opposing party via a mediator or a lawyer before the deadline expires.
What if I deliberately do not meet the deadline?
If the deadlines are deliberately not met, the person being warned runs the risk that the warning firm will take further steps, such as a default summons. If you miss the deadlines in the warning notice, the initiation of court proceedings is therefore not out of the question. In most cases, the resulting costs (e.g. for a court) exceed the costs of mediation or legal advice. The easiest way to settle the matter at the beginning is through a negotiation professional.
This represents the vantage point of the admonished party. But what rules must be applied to the opposing party, the one issuing the warning?
Deadlines for warning letters for copyright infringements for warning parties
In order to take action against a warning notice, it is always helpful to know which rules the opposing party must follow, because if they are not followed, you have good grounds to take action against the warning notice. The question is: how long is someone allowed to warn me after the actual “act”? Unfortunately, a copyright infringement often results in a
warning. And unfortunately, the legislator does not define any time limits for the cease-and- desist letter itself, so the cease-and-desist letter writer has seemingly endless time to issue a cease-and-desist letter. But: warnings for file sharing / copyright infringement are subject to the statute of limitations.
Statute of limitations in copyright law
If the warning party waits too long, the claims expire and the offence is time-barred. The statute of limitations for file sharing generally expires after three years. It is interesting to note that it is not the date of the offence that is decisive, but the date on which the injured party learns of the infringement. In addition, the statute of limitations does not begin until the next full year, which gives those issuing warnings a lot of leeway. Some special claims, such as for licence fees, only become time-barred after 10 years, even more leeway and time for the “injured party”.
Regardless of whether you are the injurer or the injured party, it is important to make sure that you do everything you can on your own initiative to minimise the damage.
In general, therefore, the law seems to give the person issuing the warning notice much more time to act than the person being warned.
What to do when the deadline has expired?
If you receive a warning letter in your mailbox – whether from your employer (precursor to dismissal for misconduct) or from a law firm for media, online or IT law – and you react too late, you run the risk of incurring further costs.
In the field of internet law, the earlier you reach an agreement, the cheaper you will get out of the matter in most cases. In our “Cases” section you can read some examples of people who have been warned and who, after 10 years of not reacting or hiring a lawyer, have received default summonses from the opposing side because the matter was not settled once and for all.
Especially if there is an infringement of copyright, such as unauthorised file sharing, illegal downloading or streaming, it is absolutely advisable to have the warning notice and the documents checked free of charge by a service such as abmahnungshilfe.de.
Can a deadline be subsequently extended?
Even after the deadline has expired, an extension of the deadline can be applied for retrospectively. Just because you don’t hear from the other side immediately after the deadline has expired doesn’t mean that they have forgotten about the case. A further reaction can take up to years if you do not settle the matter.
What to do in case of a warning letter?
Regardless of the area of law in which you have received a warning letter, it is always sensible to have it examined free of charge in order to become aware of the alternatives. Our aim is to help people who have been warned out of the tricky situation as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Get in touch
You can decide to talk to a settlement expert in order to negotiate a settlement offer from the law firm which sent you the infringement letter. This will be sent to you without any obligation to accept and costs before accepting. All settlement experts have year long experience in this field and have settled hundreds or thousands of cases.
If you require legal advice, consulting or representation, you can decide to submit your case to an experienced lawyer. The lawyers to which your case will be submitted are all experienced and specialised in the infringement regulation.
For questions regarding your handling case please contact us directly via: firstname.lastname@example.org