Received a warning from Frommer Legal (formerly: Waldorf Frommer)?
Frommer Legal: Known for their cease-and-desist letters in the media industry. But how do they proceed? Which companies do they represent and how can those affected defend themselves? In this article, you will learn everything about the background, procedure and legal options against unjustified warning letters. Protect your rights and inform yourself now! Let us check your warning directly and free of charge.
In this article, the approach of the law firm Frommer Legal to warnings in the media industry is highlighted. All relevant aspects are covered, from the companies represented and the violations warned against to the legal consequences and possible courses of action for those affected. The aim is to provide readers with important information to protect themselves against unjustified warning letters and to bring about a quick and simple solution.
Who is Frommer Legal?
Frommer Legal is a renowned law firm based in Munich, which specializes in particular in the prosecution of copyright infringements, especially via file-sharing networks. A few years ago, the law firm was called “Waldorf und Kollegen” and later “Waldorf Frommer”.
On behalf of large media companies, the lawyers of Frommer Legal send out large numbers of cease-and-desist letters for copyright infringements to the owners of Internet connections, to which a prefabricated cease-and-desist declaration is attached. By threatening legal action, Frommer Legal’s lawyers try to intimidate those affected in order to get them to pay the dubious warning fees.
In 2003, you may have noticed in the media that lawyers from Frommer Legal sent thousands of identical warning letters to website operators with allegations of copyright infringement. From 2004 onwards, Frommer Legal concentrated increasingly on cease-and-desist letters against private individuals. These individuals received warning letters and were asked to sign a cease-and-desist declaration because they were selling old CDs or DVDs via eBay that were accompanied by magazines.
Since 2006, Frommer Legal’s cease-and-desist letters have been directed primarily at private individuals accused of copyright infringement through file sharing. The content of the warning letters, which has remained similar to this day, is sent out in thousands of cases every year.
Who does Frommer Legal represent?
Frommer Legal represents a variety of well-known national and international companies in the music and film industry. Prominent firms include:
- Bastei Lübbe AG
- Constantin Film Verleih GmbH
- Audiobook Hamburg HHV GmbH
- LEONINE Distribution GmbH (formerly Universum Film GmbH)
- LEONINE Licensing GmbH (formerly Tele München Fernseh GmbH +
- Co. Produktionsgesellschaft)
- Majestic Filmverleih GmbH
- ROOF MUSIC Schallplatten- und Verlags GmbH
- RTL Television GmbH
- RTL 2 Television GmbH & Co. KG
- Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH
- Studiocanal GmbH
- Tiberius Film GmbH
- Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment GmbH
- Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH
- Universal Music GmbH
- Warner Bros. Entertainment GmbH
- Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
You have certainly already heard of these well-known companies in the media industry, and this is where Frommer Legal comes in. The rights holders who have commissioned this law firm to send cease and desist letters represent a large number of current and influential artists and are present throughout the film industry.
Frommer Legal works with a standardized warning system and sends identical warning letters and cease-and-desist declarations. The naming of these renowned companies is intended to instill fear in those being warned, in order to get them to give in to the demands of the warning letter out of fear of being sued. However, this is often a mistake, because with the right support, it is possible to take action against unjustified claims.
What exactly does Frommer Legal warn against?
Frommer Legal has made it its business to fight copyright infringements and to take action against providers of copyrighted works in file-sharing networks. In doing so, the law firm does not focus on the download itself, but on the uploading and offering of music and film works in such file-sharing networks.
Many file-sharing exchanges are set in such a way that while a file is being downloaded by another user, parts of this file are simultaneously made available to other users. If you have not changed these settings, you are unknowingly making files available to other users and thus committing copyright infringement, even if you are not aware of it. The lawyers at Frommer Legal take action against this practice of file sharing by sending out warning letters and cease-and-desist letters.
What does a warning letter from Frommer Legal look like?
A cease-and-desist letter from Frommer Legal follows a certain structure, which offers the warned clients options for taking action against it. The warning letter is usually divided into different points. First, the facts on which the warning is based are explained.
In Frommer Legal’s warning letter, the defendants are accused of having distributed copyrighted works via a file-sharing program without permission. They are accused of not only downloading the work, but also making it available to a large number of other people.
This provision occurs when file-sharing programs are set to not only allow downloads, but also to offer the files to other users. This means that during the download, parts of the file are automatically offered to other users if these settings are enabled in your file sharing program. So it happens even if you are not aware that you are providing the files.
In the further course of the warning letter, known file-sharing networks are named and alleged streaming platforms are listed.
Frommer Legal then specifically addresses your offense and lists certain details, such as the work in question, the type of work (e.g., film), Frommer Legal’s client, a file hash to uniquely identify the file, the time of the download offer (i.e., the time at which it was determined that you offered the file on a file-sharing network), and the IP address through which the warned file was offered.
This is what you should pay attention to: Damages, declaration of discontinuance and time limit
Cease and desist declaration
In this point, Frommer Legal repeatedly points out the specific copyright infringements for which you have been warned by the rights holder. However, instead of initiating legal proceedings, Frommer Legal first proposes an out-of-court settlement to you in the warning letter.
You will be asked to sign the attached draft cease-and-desist declaration and to make Frommer Legal pay for the damage caused by the warning letter.
The cease-and-desist declaration is at the heart of Frommer Legal’s warning letter. The cease-and-desist declaration is intended to assure Frommer Legal’s lawyers that you will not repeat this infringement in the future. It is important not to sign the cease-and-desist declaration prematurely, but to check it and adjust it if necessary (we will help you).
Signing the cease-and-desist declaration from Frommer Legal can in certain cases be tantamount to an admission of guilt. The attached declaration from Frommer Legal is only a sample and should not be signed in this form. The sample cease-and-desist letter is often worded very broadly, and signing the cease-and-desist letter may have far-reaching consequences to which you are bound.
Damages: Claims for compensation directed against you by the Frommer Legal cease-and-desist letter
In addition to the cease-and-desist declaration, Frommer Legal also asks you to acknowledge the claims for damages made on behalf of the rights holders and listed in the cease-and-desist letter. In Frommer Legal’s cease-and-desist letter, a value in dispute is first set for the claim for damages, which may amount to €700 in the case of a film, for example. This amount in dispute is based on the license fees you would have had to pay if you had legally licensed the film in the form you published it.
What deadlines do you have to observe?
In this section, Frommer Legal summarizes which payments the rights holder requires from you and informs you about the deadlines for submitting the cease-and-desist declaration and making the payment.
Attention: Even if you do not want to sign the cease-and-desist declaration and comply with the payments, it is extremely important to take the deadlines stated in the cease-and-desist letter seriously. If you ignore the deadlines of the cease-and-desist letter, Frommer Legal may initiate legal proceedings against you. This has already happened frequently in the past, and legal proceedings can significantly increase the costs of your warning letter.
We also advise you not to hope that the warning letter will become time-barred. The claims for payment of legal fees asserted by Frommer Legal become time-barred after three years. However, this only applies if no lawsuit is filed against you.
Often, people who have been warned receive a reminder shortly before the expiry of the statutory limitation period for the warning notice. This is an attempt to demand payment before the statute of limitations expires. You should immediately file an objection against such a reminder notice, which is sent to you in a yellow envelope, within the next two weeks. In its ruling of 12.5.2016 – I ZR 48/15, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that claims for damages become time-barred after 10 years.
How should I react to the warning from Frommer Legal?
A warning letter from Frommer Legal can initially cause anxiety. But it is important to stay calm and take the right steps. Here are some recommendations on how to respond to a warning letter from Frommer Legal:
- Stay calm: A warning letter is no reason to panic. You are not alone; thousands of people receive warning letters every year. Stay calm and gather all relevant information about the warning.
- Do not sign the cease-and-desist declaration without checking it: Under no circumstances should you sign the cease-and-desist declaration contained in the warning letter without checking it. Often, the pre-formulated declarations are too far-reaching and can have legal consequences for you.
- Do not contact Frommer Legal: Avoid contacting Frommer Legal on your own. This may be taken as an admission of guilt and the information could be used against you. Let the communication go through a third party negotiator such as abmahnungshilfe.de
- Take advantage of a free initial consultation: Get professional advice by claiming a free initial consultation. Look for a provider who already has experience with cease-and-desist letters from Frommer Legal and can provide you with competent advice.
- Consider whether you want to go into a years-long legal dispute or prefer to settle the matter quickly and out of court.
A warning letter from Frommer Legal requires a careful approach. By following the above steps and seeking timely advice, you can increase your chances of a successful settlement.
What mistakes should I avoid at all costs in connection with a Frommer Legal warning letter?
A warning letter from Frommer Legal can be a stressful situation for those affected. However, in order to avoid causing further problems, certain mistakes should be avoided. Here are some points that you should avoid at all costs in connection with a warning letter from Frommer Legal:
- Ignore the warning: Do not ignore the warning letter. In most cases, Frommer Legal tries to reach out-of-court settlements. If you do not respond and ignore the deadlines, Frommer Legal may take legal action against you on behalf of the rights holder. This will result in additional costs and a possible lawsuit. Rather, negotiate with a professional to settle the matter quickly.
- Hope for statute of limitations: It is important to note that there are differences between the statute of limitations for the claim for damages and the statute of limitations for legal fees. The statute of limitations for attorney’s fees is generally three years. The claim for damages, on the other hand, is subject to a 10-year statute of limitations. Note, however, that the claims are not time-barred if Frommer Legal has filed a lawsuit against you. In addition, the statute of limitations can be suspended shortly before expiration by initiating legal dunning proceedings. In such cases, it is advisable to start a trial within the first 2 weeks.
- Contact Frommer Legal: Avoid contacting Frommer Legal on your own. Any statements you make to the law firm may be used against you. To avoid negative consequences, seek advice from a settlement professional or mediator before responding.
- Make a down payment: it is important that you do not immediately comply with the demands of Frommer Legal’s warning letter, even if you are actually responsible for the copyright infringement. Before making any payments, you should have the demands reviewed by a settlement professional. Often, the amounts demanded can be reduced. If you are only the owner of the connection and not the actual perpetrator of the copyright infringement, the regulations of “Stoererhaftung” (Breach of Duty of Care) could be relevant for you.