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EU intervenes in intellectual property debate
The operators of free public Wi-Fi networks cannot be held liable for copyright breaches committed by users, a preliminary ruling has suggested. The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has made the case that it would be unreasonable …
The operators of free public Wi-Fi networks cannot be held liable for copyright breaches committed by users, a preliminary ruling has suggested.
The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has made the case that it would be unreasonable to expect all public networks to be secured.
The ruling follows a case of alleged copyright infringement between a German retailer and Sony Music Entertainment.
The multi-national had alleged that the retailer had used a network to illegally download music and that the Wi-Fi hotspot should have been secured.
However, Adovate General Maciej Szpunar does not believe that this is a reasonable expectation.
“Although an injunction may be issued against that operator in order to bring the infringement to an end, it is not possible to require termination or password protection of the Internet connection or the examination of all communications transmitted through it,” said the ruling.
While the ruling isn’t binding and is now set to be debated more extensively by EU Judges, the argument has been welcomed by internet providers across the continent.
EuroISPA, which represents the largest service providers throughout the 28-nation bloc, said that the ruling strengthened a consensus that copyright enforcement measures needed to be balanced against wider rights.
At Royds, our experts can provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of intellectual property law affecting business. For more information please visit our website or contact Stephen Welfare or John North.
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