Open WiFi owner not blamed for downloads

It wasn’t him, it was his Wi-Fi stealing neighbour apparently

A court in Germany has ruled that a man is not to blame for illegal downloading as he has an open Wi-Fi connection.

The whole case came to light when an unnamed musician sued a man for downloading one of their songs on a P2P site.

Even though the musician had the person's IP address, the defence suggested that, as he had an open Wi-Fi connection, it could have been anyone who downloaded the song.

The prosecution argued that, as it was his connection, he should be the one policing it. And the court agreed.

Decision overruled

Not wanting to be sued, the man appealed the decision and a judge in Frankfurt overruled the original verdict, stating that if other users use your open Wi-Fi network without your consent and download copyrighted material, you cannot be automatically held responsible for their actions.

This new ruling could have many implications for copyright infringement laws over the internet. Now that one person has blamed an open Wi-Fi connection, many are sure to follow.


Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.