A Finnish court has decided that having an open Wi-Fi connection does not make the access point owners responsible for third party copyright infringement that happens over their network. Proponents of common sense just let out a loud collective sigh of relief.
The case was brought to the courts by a Finnish Anti-Piracy Centre, which was also suing a woman for $7,700 for copyright infringement. Turns out the defendant had approximately 700 guests at her home for a play that day. The Finnish Anti-Piracy Center claimed that the women who owned the home downloaded the files in questions. The home owner claimed that it was one of her guests.
The ruling found that “the applicants were unable to provide any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing. The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with a password can be deemed to constitute a copyright-infringing act.” The court finally ruled that “the WiFi owner cannot be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.”
Now, this pretty much has zero implications over here in North America, but it’s important to point out that it’s nice to see a court system applying logic to their cases. Owning a gun and having a third party use that gun to commit murder doesn’t make the original gun owner a murderer. It’s the same kind of logic in this case. Sure, murder versus copyright infringement isn’t exactly the same kind of case, but the basic tenants of reponsibilty apply in both cases. It’s time the rest of the Western world realizes that.