Unsecured wifi might be contributory negligence

Ian Batten igb at batten.eu.org
Mon Feb 20 17:18:41 GMT 2012

On 20 Feb 2012, at 16:52, Andrew Cormack wrote:
> Worth noting that the DEA doesn't, as far as I can see, do anything to change the position on liability *for* breach of copyright: that's still defined by the CDPA. What the DEA does is introduce some new duties on both subscribers and ISPs to prevent breach of copyright using their networks: those who fail to satisfy those duties can have sanctions imposed by the DEA, but that's not "liability for copyright breach". 

It's possible, I suppose, that ISPs could be leaned on to refuse to supply service to endpoints that are associated with copyright infringement.  Provided they can show they are not breaching the Equality Act 2010, they're perfectly at liberty to refuse to do business with people for any or no reason --- even BT's USO doesn't extend to broadband.  In which case, the ISP would simply withdraw service based on complaints from rights holders, perhaps after some sort of warning regime ("we aren't accusing you of X and we can't punish you for X and X isn't a crime, but we aren't going to do business with you in your line is used for X").  

Of course, if ISPs did that --- and it's hard to imagine them acting en bloc to do so --- then it would bring to a head the tension between Internet access being a purely commercial transaction between willing parties, and Internet access being pretty much a requirement to run a business or participate in education.  


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