Finland: Open WiFi owners are not liable for copyright infringement|

By EDRi · May 23, 2012

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Deutsch: [Finnland: Betreiber offener W-Lans haften nicht für Urheberrechtsverstöße |]

On 14 May 2012, a District Finish Court decided on the condition of open
WiFi owners in respect to their liability for online copyright
infringements. In a two-year long case brought to court by the
anti-piracy group CIAPC against a Finnish woman for copyright
infringement, the court decided in favour of the defendant.

The issue was that the woman had been accused of having illegally shared
copyrighted material by Direct Connect (DC++) protocol through her
Internet connection. CIAPC asked for 6000 euro for an alleged
infringement during a specific 12-minute period on 14 July 2010.
However, the alleged infringement had taken place during a summer
theatre play with an audience of around hundred people which was held at
the premises owned and resided by the respective woman and the
applicants could not prove that the woman had personally been involved
in file-sharing.

The question therefore in front of the court was whether providing a
WiFi connection not protected with a password could be considered a
copyright infringement and the decision of the court was that WiFi
owners could not be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.

CIAPC had also asked for an injunction to prevent the defendant from
committing similar acts in the future which, if granted, would have
given rights-owners a powerful legal weapon to shut WiFi connections in
similar cases.

The legal basis for the court’s decision was the Finnish legislation
involving the implementation of several EU directives in the field of
information society and copyright.

In case CIAPC decides to appeal the case to the Vaasa Court of Appeals,
there remains the option to take it to the European Court of Justice
which would clarify things for the EU in general.

The new ruling in Finland appears to fall in line with a lack of
liability for open WiFi network operators in the United States.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an open WiFi is “a mere
conduit for the communications of others, and often enjoys statutory
immunities. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, there is a safe
harbour for service providers who offer ‘the transmission, routing, or
providing of connections for digital online communications, between or
among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s choosing,
without modification to the content of the material as sent or
received.’ That definition fits a provider of free public WiFi as easily
as a traditional DSL provider.”

Finnish Court: Open WiFi Owner Not Liable for File-Sharing Copyright
Infringement (14.05.2012)

Open WiFi Owner Not Liable For Illegal File-Sharing, Court Rules

Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement

Open WiFi and Liability for Copyright Infringement: Setting the Record
Straight (18.08.2011)