Wi-Fi Owners Not Liable for Pirates on Their Network, Courts Rule
CREDIT: Shutterstock: Andrey Burmakin
Average Joes and Janes can rest a little easier knowing that they are less likely to be sued because someone used their Wi-Fi connection to download a pirated movie.
Last week, a Northern California federal court dismissed a negligence suit by AF Holdings — a distributor of pornographic movies — claiming copyright infringement. Simply put, the judge ruled that the defendant was not responsible for the actions of strangers.
[SEE ALSO: Could You Be Sued for Not Securing Your Wi-Fi?]
And an earlier case went further. In July, a similar case was tried in New York and thrown out as well. Manhattan judge Lewis Kaplan ruled "the owner of an Internet connection cannot be found liable for "negligence" simply because another person uses his Wi-Fi connection to commit copyright infringement — even if he knows about it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy advocate, is encouraged by the decisions. "We're hoping that other courts follow Judge Kaplan, sending a clear message that the federal laws protecting Internet providers can't be bypassed with artful pleading," the EFF said in a statement. "And that using bogus legal arguments to coerce settlements from innocent Internet subscribers won't be tolerated."
If the current trend prevails, studios may find that pursuing Wi-Fi owners doesn't pay — in court or out.