[Finland] Open WIFI owner not liable for infringement

Francis Davey fjmd1a at gmail.com
Thu May 24 00:09:23 BST 2012

2012/5/23 Igor Mozolevsky <mozolevsky at gmail.com>:
> From: http://www.turre.com/2012/05/finnish-court-open-wifi-owner-not-liable-for-file-sharing-copyright-infringement/
> "In a landmark ruling, a Finnish District Court (Ylivieskan
> käräjäoikeus) has today clarified the legal status of WiFi owners for
> internet file-sharing in the light of various pieces of EU
> legislation..."

This is essentially what I said at UKNOF in May:

It seems clear to me that a wifi owner cannot be liable for
infringement of the reproduction right or for authorising any
infringing act. There's a long line of authority which, I think, makes
that quite clear. They aren't copying and merely because someone is
able to use the wifi for something unlawful, doesn't taint the owner
with the conduct.

It also seems clear that there cannot be any liability in negligence
or on some other theory outside the Copyright Act.

That leaves infringement of the making available/communication to the
public right. I am quite sure that is also not infringed.

So the Finnish court's decision seems right.

Specific points:

* Obviously the matter will be quite different where the wifi owner
colludes or encourages in some other way. Setting up a cafe called
"the Pirate Cafe", posting up instructions on how to P2P file share
and advertising yourself as "a great place to download the latest
films", almost certainly *would* amount to authorisation etc.

* The law does not rule out the possibility of an injunction.
Injunctions can, _in principle_, be granted in all sorts of
circumstances, but in practice a court is not going to grant one
except in very specific circumstances for example where the wifi
operator carried on its business on a commercial scale, there was
widespread copyright infringement, it would be reasonably practical to
stop by some means, and so on. Don't wait up.

Francis Davey

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