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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 12:54am

    But but but that one case from a long time ago about a tug boat not having a radio says its totally her fault!

    :D

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 2:14am

    But wireless networks are used for hacking!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 2:33am

    And therein lies the problem with ISPs acting as copyright police. They can lead you to an account holder but NOT to an infringer.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 2:48am

    Re:

    According to the morons at starbucks anything not involving a GUI is "hacking"

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    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!

     

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  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 3:27am

    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?

     

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  7.  
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    IronM@sk, May 17th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Re:

    The FAP Centre? lol

     

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  8.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re:

    Poorly considered acronym is poorly considered.

     

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  9.  
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    Jim L, May 17th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    Oh No

    Think of the CHILDREN!

     

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  10.  
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    Liz (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    Re: Oh No

    No kidding. If people don't lock up their networks, those tech savvy little cybermiscreants will break into your cybersystem and cause cyberhavoc!

     

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  11.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    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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  12.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    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.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Finn, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    In Finland, appeal is not that easy. It has to be based on new evidence surfaced on the case, and higher court rulings often turn against the appealing party. They can't choose judges. It's not the States, at least for now :)

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Finn, May 17th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    That institution doesn't exist, but when they come up with it, I'll be the first to throw a lot of FAP FAP FAP! jokes at them :D

     

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  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Devils Advocate

    This wouldn't get them off the hook at all. They are still liable for their own acts of infringement.

     

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  16.  
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    Adam, May 17th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Open networks

    I don't see how an open network is any different from an unattended telephone. If someone makes an obscene phone call from that phone is the subscriber responsible?

     

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  17.  
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    Atkray (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 9:35am

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

    That only works for you, not all of us work for the Lord of The Underworld.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    I envy you.

     

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  19.  
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    DinDaddy (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    Niall (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 3:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Fundie American Patriots?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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