Finnish court: open WiFi owners not responsible for copyright infringement

A Finnish court has ruled that merely operating an open WiFi access point does not make you liable for copyright infringements committed on your network. From the defense attorney's press release:

This alleged copyright infringement had taken place in a specific 12-minute period in July 14 2010, a date when a summer theater play with an audience of around hundred people was held at the premises of the former school owned and resided by the lady.

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.

Crucially, the applicants also sought an injunction to prevent the defendant for committing any similar acts in the future. Had the injunction been granted, the legal status of various open WiFi providers would have turned out extremely difficult, as rights-owners would have been provided with a powerful legal weapon to shut them down in cases of similar, arguably insignificant infringements by incidental visitors and customers...

Finally, the court concluded that the WiFi owner cannot be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.

Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement

(Image: Warchalking, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from isaacmao's photostream)


  1.  Unfortunately in my case the Finnish court accepted police lice and police forgeries as evidence against me. Despite the fact that I had the worlds best alibi. I was in jail. Search google with: Turku police forgery.

      1. Sorry. There is no z sound in Finnish so a Finn may naturally pronounce both lies and lice as lice.

  2. I’ve long been a fan of open wifi. I’d really like to see a good easy way of providing free wifi to everyone while giving bandwidth priority to the machines always on your network – and for routers to have a large range by default. In built up cities it could almost be a substitute for cell phone networks.

  3. Finally, the court concluded that the WiFi owner cannot be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.

    Seems only fair. Car park owners get away with denying liablity for theft of stuff from vehicles parked on their premises. EM space is the new land.

  4. I seem to recall that there was a similar ruling made in the US recently. The upshot was that an ip address does not represent an individual the way a phone number can.

    1. Court in Hawaii ruled that the claim of $10,000 of negligence as part of a copyright trolling operation was not part of the law and was struck from the complaint. 
      The sad part is at least 1 person has already paid this lawyer that fee once in a settlement, emboldening him to using it as a fall back position for people he targets who claim they did not infringe on copyright.   Well if you didn’t do it your just as responsible, now pay me thousands.
      This from the same lawyer who threatened to go door to door in a targets neighborhood asking them if they downloaded the gay porn via the targets wifi.
      Stay Classy Marc Randazza.  Yes, THAT Marc Randazza.  Champion of free speech issues and slayer of Righthaven.  He is collecting thousands of dollars for a gay porn film called “Down on the Farm”.  You don’t need a good movie to make money any more, just sue people who “might” have downloaded it or have open wifi, or hacked wifi.  Everyone has money.  Outing gay teens to their parents… hyper classy.

      This is extortion, plain and simple.  Over 250,000 people have been targeted in these shakedowns and not a single court has asked if the IP identification can be flawed before granting these lawyers thousands of names in John Doe lawsuits.  Even after the case is dropped the lawyers continue to use that list of names, threatening to take them to court for $150,000 payday and most recently threatening to publicly link their name with porn titles.  When all they can actually prove is that the named person paid for an ISP.

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