German Court Says That Open WiFi Owners Not Responsible For File Sharing Done By Others
from the good-ruling dept
There’s been plenty of back and forth over the years concerning the question of whether or not an open WiFi network makes the owner of that network liable for or protected from charges of file sharing by others on that network. Since the entertainment industry can only trace back to the access point, but has no idea who’s using that access point, some have always contested that an open WiFi network is a defense against charges of file sharing, since it could be anyone doing the sharing. Others contend that the owners of the open network should be liable for any crimes committed on that network.
A German court has now ruled that open WiFi network owners are not responsible for actions committed by other users on their network. This overrules a lower court decision, which the entertainment industry had been using to threaten people whose IP addresses turned up in file sharing sweeps. This doesn’t mean that the owner of the network won’t still be hauled off to court, or that they won’t eventually be found guilty of infringement — but if the person can present evidence that others used the network, then they have a defense against charges of file sharing. This seems like a reasonable ruling that hopefully other courts will follow as well.