The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Sep 13 2012, 1:17 AM Category: Science/Technology Source: TorrentFreak Print

No Duty to Secure Wi-Fi from BitTorrent Pirates, Judge Rules

by Ernesto

A crucial ruling in one of the ongoing BitTorrent lawsuits in the United States has delivered a clear win for open Wi-Fi operators. Among other things, California Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that Internet subscribers are not required to secure their wireless networks to prevent outsiders from pirating movies. In other words, people can’t be held liable for the alleged infringements of other people on their network.

BitTorrent lawsuits have been dragging on for more than two years in the US, involving more than a quarter million alleged illicit file-sharers.

The copyright holders who start these cases generally provide nothing more than an IP-address as evidence. They then ask the courts to grant a subpoena which allows them to request the personal details of the alleged offenders from their Internet providers.

The problem with this scheme, however, is that the person who pays the Internet bills may not be the person who pirating the movie or song in question. Several judges have noted that an IP-address is not a person, much to the disappointment of copyright holders.

To counter this argument copyright holders have introduced the “negligence” theory, arguing that Internet subscribers are liable when other people pirate files through their networks. This would allow copyright holders to sue people even when their targets haven’t committed an offense.

One of these cases was decided last week in favor of the Internet subscriber.

The case was started by adult video company AF Holdings who sued an Internet account holder called Josh Hatfield in a California federal court. AF Holdings claimed that Hatfield had a "duty to secure his Internet connection," and that he "breached that duty by failing to secure his Internet connection."

As a result, AF Holdings argued that Hatfield was liable for the copyright infringements that were committed by an unknown person. Mr. Hatfield disagreed with this claim, and argued that the copyright holder couldn’t prove that people are obliged to secure their wireless networks to prevent piracy.

In her verdict Judge Phyllis Hamilton sided with the defendant.

“AF Holdings has not articulated any basis for imposing on Hatfield a legal duty to prevent the infringement of AF Holdings' copyrighted works, and the court is aware of none,” Hamilton writes.

“Hatfield is not alleged to have any special relationship with AF Holdings that would give rise to a duty to protect AF Holdings' copyrights, and is also not alleged to have engaged in any misfeasance by which he created a risk of peril,” she adds.

In addition to this lack of duty of care, Judge Hamilton ruled that even if negligence could be proven then “personal injury” state law would be preempted by federal copyright law.

The ruling in the current case is similar to that of Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York earlier this year although perhaps even stronger – Judge Hamilton specifically rules that Internet subscribers don’t have an obligation towards copyright holders to secure their Wi-Fi.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who have helped out many alleged BitTorrent pirates over the years, are happy with the outcome.

“This ruling, along with the Tabora ruling in New York, send a strong judicial message that copyright owners can’t use legal tricks to bypass the law’s protections for Internet access points,” EFF’s Mitch Stolz writes.

“There are still many open cases in the federal courts where copyright owners are trying to use this bogus legal theory,” he adds.

The ruling is definitely a setback for the many copyright holders who jumped aboard the lucrative BitTorrent lawsuit bandwagon. Should more judges reach the same conclusion in future cases the end of this type of lawsuit in the U.S. may very well be near.

Latest Science/Technology
- Bezos Beats Musk
- Sorry, George Carlin, Plastic Is Biodegradable
- First of its Kind Study Finds Virtually no Driving Impairment Under the Influence of Marijuana
- Should We Fear the Era of Driverless Cars?
- Bad News: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Oracle v. Google API Copyright Decision
- Lexus Says They've Invented World's First Hoverboard
- The Migration of Guns from Physical to Digital
- The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can

No Comments Posted Add Comment

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

Donald Sutherland Reveals The Real Meaning Of The Hunger Games - 11/27Drone Pilots Have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds For Exposing US Murder - 11/27Pot Breathalyzers: Coming Soon to A Drug War Near You - 11/27Georgia Sheriff Puts Up Sign Warning People Who Disagree With Him About God to Leave - 11/27World's Most 'Adorable' Drug Kingpin Is Actually The Daughter of Texas DEA Head Honcho - 11/26City Settles After Police Chief Arrested Man For Calling Public Official A 'Liar' - 11/27Bezos Beats Musk - 11/27Heroic Cops Protect Community by Raiding a Group of 90-Yo Women Playing Mahjong - 11/26

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up