Common Sense Wins: Finnish Court Says Open WiFi Owner Not Liable For Infringement By User

from the good-to-see dept

For many, many years, we’ve had a number of debates on the site about whether or not an open WiFi network connection should make the owner liable for what users do on that network. The perfectly common sense response is that, no, they should not be responsible under basic principles of protecting third parties from liability from actions of their users. But, common sense isn’t always so common, so we might as well cheer it on a bit when we see it. So, kudos to a Finnish court for ruling that an open WiFi user is not automatically liable for copyright infringement done via her network. As the press release about the case states, the anti-piracy group that brought the lawsuit failed to show any evidence that the owner actually did any infringement. The court also rejected the idea that an injunction be issued against the woman blocking such usage in the future. Thankfully, the court rejected that, recognizing that this would unfairly burden WiFi hotspot operators.

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Comments on “Common Sense Wins: Finnish Court Says Open WiFi Owner Not Liable For Infringement By User”

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Re: Re: Devils Advocate

Joe operates an open Wifi network that Sally uses to pirate everything from.

Sally operates an open Wifi network that Joe uses to pirate everything from.

This summary of the ruling seems to absolve them of liability since someone else was doing the pirating.

To use the obligatory car reference, if Joe’s car is seen at the scene of multiple bank robberies, he’s going to be a very high priority suspect of the police. Obviously if Joe lent his car to Sally that would help in his establishment of an alibi. (I know criminal vs civil…just devils advocate here)

What seems to be a perfect way around the law above only encourages more draconian restrictions to be proposed by paid for politicians in the name of [piracy|terrorism|children|all 3] etc. Just like the use of encryption is encouraging the FBI to ask for back doors to almost everything.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Devils Advocate

To turn your own analogy back on you, you are saying loaning your car to someone should be illegal, since if Joe borrows Sally’s car to act as a getaway driver during bank robberies, and she borrows his for the same reason, they are magically absolved of responsibility for this.

And yet no one anywhere is suggesting loaning of cars should be illegal.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re:

No that starts in June or July when they pass on notices from a secret group using a secret method to detect “infringement” and when you get 6 of them they can take actions like cutting you off to make a media conglomerate happy.
If you think they are wrong it costs your $35 to attempt to challenge it in a pseudolegal method that has their hand picked arbitrator decide if the customer or the corporation is right.
And this system is fully funded 50-50 but the media corps and isps… which is a nice way of saying enjoy paying more for your content and your connection.
Antitrust investigation anyone?


so how long before the Finnish Anti-Piracy Centre appeals this ruling then? it isn’t the result they want so surely the case has to go on until either the person charged cant afford to defend themselves any longer or a judge is found that will rule in favour of the Finnish Anti-Piracy Centre. i hear there is a good judge in Holland if they need one!

The Devil's Coachmansays:

When it comes to Open WiFi, I am the law.

If I want to set up an Open WiFi hotspot for my customers’ use, and any of them uses it to infringe, it is not my responsibility, and if the MAFIAA attempts to take my connection down, their lawyers will learn the true meaning of fear. A fear so deep that it will cause them to lose control of their bowels and bladder. A fear so overwhelming that they will no longer be able to speak, or walk, or even turn away. Fear so vivid that the lifelong tremors and nightmares that will result will alter their DNA, and be passed down to their progeny. This is how you deal with them, not by getting and paying for your own lawyer. That costs real money. Producing intense, paralyzing fear is free. And much more effective.

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