Public Service Message: Opening Up Your WiFi Does Not Guarantee You A Free Pass Against RIAA
from the in-case-you-were-wondering dept
Well, perhaps we need to take some responsibility here. A few years ago, we pointed to an article in Salon from someone saying he was going to open up his WiFi in order to deny any responsibility for anything that was done on the network. We pointed out that this made sense, logically thinking, since the owner of the network could have some plausible deniability over what was done on the network, and just associating an IP address with the account would no longer be enough proof to show that the account's owner was responsible. Of course, we pointed out that this was a legal strategy that was unlikely to work, and you'd probably still find yourself in court, which isn't very much fun. Partly because of this, earlier this year, we posted a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about how the RIAA dropped a case after someone used this defense. Of course, the specifics included the fact that there were many different people using the network on a regular basis, so it actually was plausible, if not probable, that someone else had downloaded music. Mostly, we were just surprised that such a defense actually worked. However, it appears that perhaps our tongue wasn't far enough in our cheek and people thought that it really was a perfectly reasonable defense to say you had an open WiFi access point. That's resulted in a legal website begging people not to rely on this defense, as it's unlikely to get you very far (though, you will still end up in court). That isn't to say it's not useful to be able to point out that an IP address does not identify a person, but you'd better have plenty of other evidence to support why it probably wasn't you on the network doing whatever you're being accused of doing.