Unsecured wifi might be contributory negligence

Ian Batten igb at batten.eu.org
Tue Feb 21 09:14:53 GMT 2012

On 21 Feb 2012, at 07:02, Igor Mozolevsky wrote:

> Firstly, that only goes to support the point that I was making---your
> liability is limited to yourself and a clearly identifiable *small*
> class of people, not the world of home owners (or in our case Internet
> users) at large. Secondly, I would presume, the earlier inhabitants
> still have the "it wasn't my 'handiwork' that was defective"
> defence---the thing you are suggesting is eliminated for households
> wrt "unsecured" wifi routers.

As is often pointed out, real-world metaphors often fail to illuminate.  One reason for the building regulations is to avoid owner x doing a bodge job on the wiring and owner x+1 being killed when the RCD doesn't trip when it should.   It's not about liability, it's about safety.  That metaphor is very difficult to extend into the online world.

> Naturally, there would be no problem is one were to try to download
> the copyrighted material from the sharer and subsequently obtained a
> search order and discovered the same content on the defendant's
> equipment...

It would be amusing to provoke the rights holders into attempting to use search warrants.  Aside from the fact I doubt that any court would be willing to grant one, I think it's safe to say that such sympathy as there is for the poor hard done by film studios [1] would evaporate as soon as the story hit the newspapers.


[1]  Is it just me, or is the fact that you can't now go to the cinema without an endless succession of hectoring adverts about piracy really annoying?  I'm one of the people that pays for cinema, and the way that the people placing those adverts can tell is because I'm sat in a cinema watching it.   One of the benefits of watching DVDs is not having to sit through thirty minutes of shite before the film starts, and that's even more annoying when a large part of that shite is given over to wagging a finger at the people who precisely don't need to have fingers wagged at them.

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