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UK Pub Reportedly Fined For Illegal Wi-Fi Download

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-they-say dept.

The Courts 102

superglaze and several other readers noted a piece up on ZDNet.co.uk reporting that last summer a pub in the UK was fined £8,000 after a customer downloaded copyrighted material on its Wi-Fi connection. According to the article, whose source was the Wi-Fi hotspot provider, it was a civil action and the pub was not identified because its owner had not given permission to release the details. Techdirt is skeptical as to whether or not the reported fine happened, given the sketchiness surrounding the details. If true, the ruling seems baffling to UK legal experts, according to ZDNet: "Internet law professor Lilian Edwards, of Sheffield Law School, told ZDNet that companies that operate a public Wi-Fi hotspot should 'not be responsible in theory' for users' illegal downloads under 'existing substantive copyright law.'" In a follow-up article, Prof. Edwards cautions that such hotspot operators should "watch out for the pile of copyright infringement warnings coming your way."

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Copyright Act exempts private, non:profit/commerce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30277820)

Also, Copyright Act exempts the transport, yet when the meter reads that it cost $0 to download then that takes the perview of exemption out of the way and into the monetary assumption of commerce that would then determine whether a profit is being derived from it's use and whether the matter is being dispensed from one's privy antiquity or publicly displayed for an investor to sample and buy.

In other words, $0 is still worth something if only to carry the venue. I learned this somewhat from a federal case a friend of mine was forced into testifying because the prosecutors wrote that his liability was $0.02 just to get him on the bench or some bullshit. The value was disclosed not to the jury, who would have surely seen the bad faith nature of most federal judges and the promiscuity of prosecutors.

Re:Copyright Act exempts private, non:profit/comme (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277942)

Also, Copyright Act exempts the transport

I can't make any sense of this post.

In American law the profit motive is irrelevant in cases of copyright infringement.

Re:Copyright Act exempts private, non:profit/comme (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281006)

In American law the profit motive is irrelevant in cases of copyright infringement.

In UK law it is wholly relevant. CDPA 1988 states that an offence is committed if such works are made available for sale or hire.

Re:Copyright Act exempts private, non:profit/comme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281310)

For info, "CDPA" is this:

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/ukpga_19880048_en_1 [opsi.gov.uk]

Simply unacceptable. (4, Insightful)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277828)

No, no, and more no.

This sort of litigation is unwise at best. If providing network access makes one responsible for the users' actions, that will severely impact availability of service. Hotels, coffee shops, airports and the like all become liable for their users. Bad move. What if I power my laptop using electricity at the pub but use an AirCard to use a cell phone network to infringe copyright? Ultimately this is foolishness, regardless of how copyright infringement is viewed.

It's time to reinforce the concept that I am responsible for my actions, and nobody else. Aiding and abetting is something entirely different from what a WiFi provider does. Just because copyright owners can't actually track down the person infringing doesn't make it okay to pick the next guy up as the source of the proverbial pound of flesh.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

Nithendil (1637041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277952)

"It's time to reinforce the concept that I am responsible for my actions, and nobody else. "
That concept died decades ago. Visit digg or reddit for a quick reminder.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278718)

Everyone: Blame Canada
Shame on Canada
For...
The smut we must stop
The trash we must bash
The Laughter and fun
Must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!

Re:Simply unacceptable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281508)

Flamebait? Someone's clearly not had their first coffee of the day yet...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0158983/ [imdb.com]

Re:Simply unacceptable. (4, Funny)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277960)

If this report is true, someone who was mugged by a guy at night who was using the government's streetlights to commit the crime should sue the government. Turnabout's fair play.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (3, Funny)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278168)

I think we should sue the gun makers for all the gang related crime. That would be a powerful lobby to have with us :)

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

fireheadca (853580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278930)

<quote><p>I think we should sue the gun makers for all the gang related crime. That would be a powerful lobby to have with us :)</p></quote>

That might not be the wisest choice.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30284102)

Too late, they already are getting sued in the US for just that.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30288094)

Guns don't kill people!

Re:Simply unacceptable. (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278062)

It's time to reinforce the concept that I am responsible for my actions, and nobody else

Sure, if you agree to have the MAC address of the device in use registered under your name. If you falsify the MAC or provide wrongful data, you get life in prison. Your objective is to bow down and pay tribute to the media overlords. They are royalty. They have power above you. They feed the coffers of your politicians whome *snickers* represent you! How DARE YOU question their authority!!!

Re:Simply unacceptable. (3, Funny)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278324)

Good thing MACs cant be changed or spoofed, or what a mess THAT would make ;)

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278486)

Sure, if you agree to have the MAC address of the device in use registered under your name. If you falsify the MAC or provide wrongful data, you get life in prison. Your objective is to bow down and pay tribute to the media overlords

Actually I think it's slightly different. You bow down to the media. The media overlords are standing behind you.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278586)

If you falsify the MAC or provide wrongful data, you get life in prison.

Noob question: was that hyperbole? I can never tell when talking about laws, especially ones that the mafIAA has pushed though.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (2, Insightful)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279306)

Definitely hyperbole in the U.S. (at least until ACTA gets ratified... if it is ratified at all). Not so sure about the U.K.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30284774)

You can't go to jail for changing a mac address, but you might if you do it in order to use someone else's wifi without their permission. That comes on the Computer Misuse Act.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278732)

"If you falsify the MAC or provide wrongful data, you get life in prison."

Yes, I caught the sarcasm. But, PLEASE!! We can't even get dangerous, violent criminals put in jail for life. Put a petty thief in prison for life? Oh, lord - there is no sanity left in the world. None, I tell you. "Your honor, the defendant has copied my ideas, without authorization. I think he cost me somewhere between 1 dollar and 29 gazillion dollars. I want to make an example of him, so please, sentence him to life without parole."

Meanwhile, political whores like Mike Huckleberry release confirmed violent nutcases to walk the streets, so that they can execute cops.

There are times when I'm GLAD that I'll be leaving this world someday. The idea of going insane along with the rest of the world is more scary than dying.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278858)

so that they can execute cops.

We need more pig-killers in the world. Mike Huckleberry is a true American hero.

Fuck the police.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281628)

Sanity is the median of the mental state of a society. Showing even an interest in thinking critically and expounding a belief that things should work fairly sets you apart and positions you further away from that mythical ideal. Claiming you're sane whilst all around you are not is a definition of madness.

Welcome.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278258)

You're absolutely correct, and I think that a phonebooth analogy ought to do pretty well here.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278874)

...I think that a phonebooth analogy ought to do pretty well here.

Sorry, this is /. It's gotta be a car analogy.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281146)

...I think that a phonebooth analogy ought to do pretty well here.

Sorry, this is /. It's gotta be a car analogy.

It's like punishing the driver of a car who gave a lift to a hitchhiker who had just committed or was on his way to committing a crime.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30287490)

"Sorry, this is /. It's gotta be a car analogy."

Like fining the dealership who sold you a car that you used to run over someone.

Or suing the govt for giving you a license.

Or suing the store that sold you the vodka you were drunk on.

story is completely bogus, there's no facts or proof of anything and it makes zero sense.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278516)

Essentially you are just being a mini-ISP. You are providing internet to them. If you can be fined for what they download, then surely your ISP should be able to be fined as well?

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278548)

It's time to reinforce the concept that I am responsible for my actions, and nobody else.

Well yeah, but you probably have less money than the pub does, so going after the pub is better.

Wait, were we talking about what gets us the most money or something silly like what is fair and logical?

Sincerely,
Big Content

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282580)

Well yeah, but you probably have less money than the pub does, so going after the pub is better.

Reminds me of a Bllom County strip where Steve Dallas has been beaten by Sean Penn for taking a photo of him. Steve won't sue Sean, because Sean might come an beat him up again. He won't sue Opus (even if it was his fault), because he doesn't have any money. So sue the (wealthy) camera manufacturer for not having a warning label on the camera.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278550)

The major difference is that when you use the service in the Hotel, Coffee shop, Airport, cellphone, you're most probably identified. Either because you paid to gain access to the service, or because you are somehow connected to the account.

If this place was just letting anyone using the intarwebs without keeping any logs of what computers were using it, they MAFIAA have no choice but to go for the pub.

And when the MAFIAA does anything, it's mostly the wrong and unethical thing to do, and the laws need to be changed to make sure they have to stop.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278816)

"when you use the service in the Hotel, Coffee shop, Airport, cellphone, you're most probably identified."

This assumes that you provide real ID when renting a room, or using services at a coffee shop or airport, or whatever. I've rented many motel rooms using false identities. $50 cash money talks. "Name?" "Ulysses Grant." "Driver's license?" "I don't drive." "How did you get here if you don't drive?" "I called a taxi." "Do you have a photo ID?" "My picture is right here, on this $50 bill." "Oh, I see - well, have a pleasant stay, Mr. Grant. Checkout time is 11:AM, and there is instant coffee in your room, and a continental breakfast in the lobby."

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279026)

You must stay at some shady places if they don't require you to have a credit card for incidentals or damage to the room. I doubt Bumfuckski Redneck Lodge that would accept $50 and look the other way has wifi.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279234)

Red Roof Inns. Super 8. Best Western. Holiday Inn. Your assumptions are kind of funny. Not every city I have ever passed through has a 5 star hotel. I've slept in some places that didn't inspire me to write home about them - but hey, I didn't need a home. I just wanted a place to sleep. And, in recent years, even the real dives have wifi. There's a motel just a couple blocks from my place of employment with a collapsing roof, and obvious water damage visible in the walls - I'd rather sleep in my car, than rent a room there. But, they have wifi. You should get out more.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (0)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278940)

Thank God, Buddha various Shinto deities etc. Japan does not have such laws or you would be stuffed.

Just about every Hotel,Coffee shop, Hostel, Train station , Airport in Japan has free WIFI.

Re:Simply unacceptable. (1)

You ain't seen me! (1237346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295874)

If this story is true, doesn't that make all ISPs responsible for the downloading of copyright material on their networks.

ie. the internet is illegal!

This story brought to you by... (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277840)

This story brought to you by the RIAA, striking fear across the globe.

No fine too ridiculous! No defendant too vulnerable! No sense of proportion!

Re:This story brought to you by... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278082)

One can only hope that we get more and more outrageous cases, because it's clear the lawmakers and the courts are incapable of reigning in the stupidity. I hope they start fining little old grannies millions, and every WiFi hotspot in the industrialized world shuts down out of fear of litigation. I hope that the Internet is rendered practically useless by filters and deep packet inspections and the effective banning of encrypted data. I hope the whole thing slows down so badly that the lawmakers are either forced to backtrack or it finally becomes a big enough electoral issue that all the filthy whores that occupy the halls of power are swept away.

The reason I hope this is because it seems clear that lawmakers, either being complete fucking retards or sucking at the teats of Big Media are incapable or unwilling to start putting the brakes on this. Sometimes it takes enough worst case scenarios to wake the public up to the reality that the whores they elect have ceased representing them, and the force of public will starts making progress. I mean, that's what it finally took to send the message that the Iraq War was an absurd waste of money and resources.

The one thing it proves is that people, lawmakers and voters, are utterly incapable of seeing the consequences of actions before the actions are taken.

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279376)

There is a definitive difference in a Hotel providing free wifi to it's customers, rather than a typical end users unsecure service. Much like playing a radio in a hotel in order to attract customers so wifi is doing the same thing, even if it is legal internet radio.

Hmm, although technically the hotel is already paying those required fees for juke boxes, live bands and of course radio and tv. Now as it is likely that what ever content was being down loaded was likely be played free to air some where on this world, than the Hotel as already paid the blanket full coverage fee, this story is logically likely PR=B$.

With USB memory sticks rapidly heading to a dollar a gigabyte swapping terabytes of content is likely going to be quicker and easier via sneaker net. New net service, localised pub meets for data exchange, adults only, no infectious content allowed, argh me harty a pub full o pirates, music, movies and beer.

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281368)

With USB memory sticks rapidly heading to a dollar a gigabyte swapping terabytes of content is likely going to be quicker and easier via sneaker net. New net service, localised pub meets for data exchange, adults only, no infectious content allowed, argh me harty a pub full o pirates, music, movies and beer.

What if we start sending usb sticks in tangible form. Will the postal service be shut down?

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282184)

its going to be the amiga clubs all over again

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281358)

Vote for the Pirate Party.

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279000)

This story brought to you by the RIAA, striking fear across the globe.

No fine too ridiculous! No defendant too vulnerable! No sense of proportion!

This Story was also brought to you by the Letters B , S , F & U

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279776)

This story brought to you by the RIAA, striking fear across the globe.

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined; leaves an aftertaste every time!

Re:This story brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30280872)

actually this story was bought to you by slashdot. No excuse for piracy unsupported! no scare story about the RIAA too silly! No comparison with nazi germany too infantile!

Grow up kiddies.

Re:This story brought to you by... (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282828)

Where is the RIAA involved in this story? See, if you can't point out for me I might end up thinking your post was a mindless knee jerk recital.

Slippery Slope (4, Interesting)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277866)

This is scarily along the lines of the iiNet (popular Australian ISP) versus AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) case that just finished in the courts a few days ago. We're all waiting for the Judge's ruling next year as it could set a huge precedent.

See http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=afact+vs+iinet [google.com]

Right, anybody got a coffee vending machine? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277872)

I'll be starting a coffeeshop on my front porch. Free wifi, $30 coffee; I'm not zoned for parking, so you'll get towed after 30 minutes.

Re:Right, anybody got a coffee vending machine? (3, Funny)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278840)

You can expect Starbucks to be suing you for a patent infringement soon, I think. It's people like you who steal other people's ideas, and cause them to go bankrupt. ;^)

Rumor propagation (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277902)

Nice, some rumor propagation on the front page.

Supposedly, according to a wifi hotspot provider, one of their unnamed clients was fined because an unnamed patron downloaded some unnamed copyrighted material.

I'm surprised the amount wasn't also undisclosed.

Now, I'm all for the birth of new urban legends for the hi-tech crowd... and maybe I'm a bit cynical, but this sure seems like some nice marketing for that wifi company, whose name I will omit in case marketing is what this is about.

See, they get their name plastered on the intertubes, while their claim will get thoroughly debunked, and all people will remember is the name of the company and the fact that public wifi operators are protected by safe harbor laws.

If the pub DID really get fined GBP 8k for copyright violations, it's probably more likely that it was because they were streaming sports content live to their patrons. This is how I watch Rutgers football games that are not on TV... I go to a bar where they stream the games (albeit at very low res with some hiccuping) onto a big-screen TV.

But, I'm guessing here, based on the words of that wifi company. Which is the same thing everyone is doing, so why can't we just ignore this stupid story until there is some actual fact-checking done?

Re:Rumor propagation (3, Insightful)

esampson (223745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277972)

Your honor, I would like to refer you to the case of RIAA vs Makeshitup in which it was clearly proven that the RIAA was in the right.

Re:Rumor propagation (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279332)

Well in a court of law the RIAA is obviously and irrefutably right!

I wish I was born ~(~20) (don't yell at me about the math, I'm too young to be educated about this) years ago so that at my current age the biggest evil online would be the cabal (OMG Firefox thinks "online" isn't a word).

Re:Rumor propagation (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278052)

Fearmongering... Fox didnt invent it, but they sure as hell showed how easy it is to make money off it.

Re:Rumor propagation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30280208)

For the first time, I'm with the RIAA on this one. Everton lost. I'm suing the pub for the trauma they inflicted on me and the beer was crap too.

Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (4, Informative)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277916)

A couple of jobs ago I had several clients who were cafe's providing free Wifi.
Their setups just consisted of home Wifi routers, they had no ability to account for the traffic that passed through their networks and had no way to control access.

Today you can get box solutions for under $1000 dollars to provide basic Identity Management, monitoring, logging and firewall/proxy control to give you more control but many of those solutions are still not enough to prevent file sharing, or provide extended logging with 12 months or more records in case you have to prove a legal issue.

Much of the train of thought with many of these hotspot operators is to offer wifi because the cafe/restaurant down the street does it and they have no thought of their legal obligations as a service provider and really are not aware of the risk that goes with it.

The BSA/RIAA/MPAA could have a field day attempting to sue the pants off these kind of operators if they really wanted to focus their attention on it.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277978)

It wouldn't even have to be the BSA/RIAA/MPAA.

It'd be pretty easy for somebody with some letterhead and a paralegal's knowledge of the terminology to just do a snailmail spam campaign against a broad swath of demographically suitable addresses.

If the target calls their lawyer, or refuses to cave, just back off, and rake it in from all the poor saps who freak out and cave when they get a nasty letter from "Somebody, Somebody, and Somebody-Else, LLC, Solicitors, representing Big Scary Corporation, concerning irrefutable evidence of your being an evil pirate" and urging them to make a modest cash "settlement" rather than face court.

You could probably make real money doing that.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (2, Funny)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278074)

Unfortunately the RIAA already has the patent on that method.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30280230)

Unfortunately the RIAA already has the patent on that method.

Which was overturned due to prior art. Bogus invoicers having been around for a long time...

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278086)

And land yourself in real jail as you are effectively defrauding people. Thanks to the money involved, there's either a trail to follow, or if you meant actual cash, a person who's collecting it who can be arrested directly in a sting operation.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278132)

And land yourself in real jail as you are effectively defrauding people. Thanks to the money involved, there's either a trail to follow, or if you meant actual cash, a person who's collecting it who can be arrested directly in a sting operation.

There doesn't seem to be any shortage of idiots that don't consider the consequences of their actions.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278148)

And in the USA the hotspot operators have immunity under the DMCA "safe harbor" provision.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278242)

It certainly would be fraud; but I have the unpleasant suspicious that it'd be the sort of fraud that is just white-collar enough to work for a surprisingly length of time. Consider the Blue Hippo case that hit slashdot a couple of weeks back. Those guys stiffed ~30,000 people, through the US mail, which means that virtually all of the stiffings are probably felonies, and the FTC is just now getting around to doing some investigating and sending harshly worded letters.

Or, more to the point, Look what just hit Arstechnica [arstechnica.com] ...

These pricks [videoprote...liance.com] may or may not actually be a scam; but a scammer would have no trouble emulating that sort of look and feel, and (even more so if there are "legitimate" operations of the type floating around) could evade shutdown for a decent while.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279742)

It'd be pretty easy for somebody with some letterhead and a paralegal's knowledge of the terminology to just do a snailmail spam campaign against a broad swath of demographically suitable addresses.

This is mail fraud.

It can put you away in a federal pen for twenty years.

Title 18 - Part 1 - Chapter 63-- Mail Fraud and Other Fraud Offenses - 1341 Frauds and swindles [cornell.edu]

Prosecution Policy Relating to Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud [justice.gov]

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30279894)

And if they did download and upload your stuff?

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281372)

This already happens regularly. Most UK businesses will receive at regular intervals letters informing them that their registration for xyz.co.uk with the "UK Network Domain Names Directory" (or similar) is about to expire and must be renewed now for £500. If they're smart, they also match it up with your domain expiry so the recipient has a chance of remembering there is something significant about that date. I've more than once stopped my boss from writing out a cheque on the spot...

a new, creative lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278200)

Excellent, lets have a sing along in the RIAA's parking lot, which would mean the RIAA is encouraging infringement!

IANAL

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (4, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278256)

Today you can get box solutions for under $1000 dollars to provide basic Identity Management, monitoring, logging and firewall/proxy control to give you more control but many of those solutions are still not enough to prevent file sharing, or provide extended logging with 12 months or more records in case you have to prove a legal issue

Get real. For a small business owner, a 'under $1000 dollars box solution with monitoring, logging etc.' is massive overkill. For a restaurant or small hotel, it's nice to provide your guests with free wireless internet access. But that's simply a service, a bonus, and nothing more. As provider of that extra service:

  • You probably don't have the money to spend much on it, since it isn't a necessity in any way (not for you, probably not for your guests).
  • You don't have the time or (wo)manpower (or expertise) to fiddle with it much, monitor activity, check logfiles or such. Your personnel is busy pouring coffee, you're busy running your business.

Basically you'd want a small, cheap 'thingie' that hooks up to your internet connection, throw that in a corner, and forget about it until a guest asks why the wireless internet isn't working. Holding you responsible, or expecting you to monitor what happens on that service, is a) unrealistic, and b) unreasonable. It would be much too ask even for an ISP, whose breat and butter it is. For a small business owner, it's just a sideshow. Legislators (and courts) should keep this in mind.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278346)

I'm sure that our dear legislators will somehow find a way to forget their oft-professed love for small businesses when the big businesses that pay for their elections come knocking.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278370)

I'm not sure about UK Law, but Law in Australia has provisions where a non-commercial wifi hotspot served in a single premises is exempt from requiring a carrier license.

This means that the registered owner of the Internet Account is ultimately responsible for the internet connection, as they are not licensed and are not bound by the legal obligations of being a Carrier/ISP.

This puts them in a legal grey area when someone they allow/invite onto their network and someone does wrong thing as they are not afforded the legal protections of an ISP. If their network was used by a paedophilia ring, some guy using it to run his bot-net or more serious crimes it puts them in a very exposed position that has not been legally tested in this country.

Spending $1000 on a basic security product to help mitigate your exposure to the risks involved in giving people free wifi seem like a no-brainer to me in case you get law enforcement or a civil suit knocking your door one day asking questions where you cannot provide any answer to.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278636)

For a small business owner, it's just a sideshow. Legislators (and courts) should keep this in mind.

Just wait.. running WiFi for your patrons will require the equivalent of a liquor license (aka, TAX) and you'll probably have to "card" patrons and store their details indefinitely.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279066)

I get your idea for a restaurant and many of those have started using providers anyways so they don't even own the equipment. But a hotel? You're gonna need a lot more backend stuff and better wap than a little linksys to give your guests internet access. $1000 would be cheap for a hotel to come out with, I'd imagine a lot more depending on the floors and layout of the hotel.

Re:Small Hotspot providers have no idea of risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278754)

I don't really think you have the slightest idea of what you are writing about.
Certainly - you ARNAL ( neither am I )

Bull. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277944)

The hotspot owner was likely sued for refusing to do anything about repeated infringement on their network. I can't speak for the UK, but in the States, so long as you ban any MAC address associated with an IP the *IAA sends your way, they're basically happy that you've taken the trouble to minimize downloading (and the majority of pirates aren't going to bother MAC spoofing when they can just go down the street or buy what they wanted.)

Re:Bull. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278036)

Ahh, the courtroom.

Ye olde coliseum, where we swing lawsuits instead of swords, and people bleed dollars instead of blood. ...We haven't really changed much have we?

News Flash! (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277968)

News Flash! There was a questionable story posted last year! As a new development, some people still think it's questionable!

Fine the computer maker, OS maker, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278018)

Why stop here? Charge the computer makers, the chip makers, the OS maker, the telecom company, the maker of wires, the maker of routers, the producers of alcohol sold in the pub (as their product may have influenced the decision to download) and the list goes on... the more the better. Eventually someone will wonder, just what the hell are we doing?

What is a public hotspot? (1)

Rib Feast (458942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278024)

This begs the question of what a public hotspot is defined as.

If this gets overruled then I'm opening up my wireless to the public at 1K/sec so I can't be held legally responsible for any copyright infringement that occurs from my connection.

Re:What is a public hotspot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278222)

I thought linsys was some foreign word for public hot spot? we do need a special holiday to celebrate those who don't secure their aps.

http://xkcd.com/466/ [xkcd.com]

This is getting silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278068)

I thought it was all over when thepiratebay.org went down with jail sentences and now this. They are on to us boys...watch out. Wait, I just finished d/ling shakira. I'm a pirate...errrrr matey

What Happened... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278176)

Legal-Eagle: "companies that operate a public Wi-Fi hotspot should 'not be responsible in theory' for users' illegal downloads under 'existing substantive copyright law.'"

Quite right. However...

RIAA/MPAA/(EU equivalent): "Pay us or we use your @$$#0[3 as a target for the caber toss. [wikipedia.org] "

Guess what happens. (Note that's a statement, not a question.)

it needs to stop (1)

bravo369 (853579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278270)

this needs to stop. If this is allowed to happen then RIAA and MPAA and every other AA will just sue every hotspot operator in the country with little to no proof and force them to settle. goodbye to open wifi and lets stay in the dark ages forever

Re:it needs to stop (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278364)

I'm not certain the only thing keeping us out of the dark ages is publicly available wifi. Likely MPAA/RIAA and friends will try to ban open wifi hot spots and end up getting a requirement to follow best practices to secure their hot spots. This would not be too unreasonable, you are expected to lock your hose when you leave correct?

Re:it needs to stop (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279102)

I never lock my hose, I guess anyone can come use it as needed. Hopefully they won't leave it on, as I'm metered.

Why download illegal files? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278286)

Here [youtube.com] is something for you to download.

Amen Brother!

It is only a matter of time .. (1)

sigjuice (769539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278400)

They won't be satisfied by just suing just the hotspots. Real soon, they will run traceroute and sue every hop.

it's all BS propaganda (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278464)

It's all B.S. fascist propaganda to crack down on everyone in the interest of corporate profits.

Just so I'm clear (4, Interesting)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278496)

If one of their customers had ordered a CD with a fraudulent credit card (over their payphone), would the fine have been more, or less?

Re:Just so I'm clear (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283782)

Fined? His ass is going to jail.

What we are talking about is a civil action. What you discuss is clearly criminal.

Re:Just so I'm clear (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292778)

GP presumably means the fine (conviction) to the pub, not the customer. IE, if Fred uses the pub's payphone to commit CC fraud, without the pub's knowledge, should the pub be fined (jailed)?

Difference between countries (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278578)

On my trip to the US(Chicago), I was surprised to see all the open WiFi hotspots so many places. I used them often with my iPhone to Skype home and save 2$ pr. minute.
With the current anti-terror laws in many EU countries you have to register and log everything, making providing hotspots a real pain in the a.. and I find it rare to see free open hotspots anywhere. But it might just have been the places I have visited.
 

What if someone commited another crime? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30278602)

If the pub was robbed using a knife from said pub, should the pub also be responsible for what the person committing the crime did?

big picture, distribution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30278792)

I thought the copyright laws related to the unlawful distribution of a file you were not authorized by the copyright owner to distribute. How is you downloading a file distributing it? Isn't the person offering the file the one offering it for distribution? Maybe the law is changing to mean that since you downloaded it, YOU made the unauthorized copy?

Say I let you use the phone at my cafe (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279220)

And, out of my earshot, you order drugs from your dealer, or for that matter,
give the launch command for the terrorist bombing attack.

So I guess I am vicariously liable for your criminal action?

I can't see anything in my example that is not parallel to the case mentioned.

gun manufacturers, look out (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30279944)

If this holds up then gun manufacturers can be held liable for murders using this as a precedence.

Unlikely to be correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281046)

To my best knowledge, noone was ever sued for downloading, only for uploading. Therefore, the story is at least partially bogus. There was a somewhat similar case in Germany a couple of years ago, someone used people's wifi for uploading music by the rapper named Bushido, and the wifi owners lost the case, the court claiming that it's their problem for not securing it. In this case however, the court documents are available online, and, as I said previously, talk about uploading and not downloading.

Can't you USians get RIAA on making available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281510)

Can't you USians get RIAA on making available? After all, they ARE making their works available and if they weren't available on CD they wouldn't be rippable and therefore they wouldn't be put on P2P networks.

Ergo, RIAA are guilty of "making available" copyrighted works for piracy...

Pointless. Bombers used Thuraya satellite phones (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281736)

As far as I remember the Mumbai bombers used Thuraya satellite phones, they all have IMEI numbers but the gateway for the network is in the UAE, so well outside India's control.

This seems like just another power grab/invasion of privacy and like forcing people to use WPA on their routers, trying to make sure every packet on the internet has a traceable owner.

They can't have it both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282222)

This reminds me of this story [slashdot.org] where a man was prosecuted for using someone else's open access point. It seems that there is no clear definition in the UK as to who is responsible for the usage of an open access point. Somebody needs to put some geeks in charge as these law makers don't know what they're doing.

Hate your bartender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282244)

Search for kiddie porn on their wifi!

Customer? (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282494)

Article submitter (kdawson ...) jumps to the conclusion that the downloader was a customer. Nowhere in the linked article does is say that it was a customer, merely that it was "someone".

If that "someone" was the pub manager then I can see why the pub manager would be the one sued by the copyright holder.

Legally weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30294466)

It doesn't sound like the director of The Cloud knows what he is talking about. Much more detail is needed before this becomes more than a vicious rumour adding to the background fear of the general public.

You couldn't be "fined" in a civil suit, only pay damages. In the UK we don't have punitive damages either: damages are supposed to reflect the actual loss caused to the claimant, and in economic cases this is notoriously difficult to establish. If any pub handed over £8,000 on a civil suit it could only be in (probably ill-advised) settlement to save the cost of defending a legal action.

There is a *small* possibility that local trading standards officers said they were considering prosecution, and offered a civil penalty in the alternative, which the pub was prepared to accept in order to protect its license, which would be at risk if there were criminal proceedings. (That sort of official blackmail is common in the police state that Britain has become in the 21st century.) The usual size of a civil penalty offered for a minor offence is £80.00, not £8,000. Maybe the story is a typo.

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