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Copyright lawsuit goes after unsecured WiFi network owners

Posted at 07 February 2012 02:23 CEST by etdragon

A lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts, could give an answer to whether or not an individual is responsible for material downloaded via their network when that network is left unsecured. The suit was filed by Liberty Media Holdings LLC, a San Diego company that produces adult content.

Liberty Media Holdings LLC is accusing about 50 people, some named and some not, of using BitTorrent to download and share one of their movies. The suit lists the IP addresses belonging to the Massachusetts residents (and a few unnamed people) who were either directly responsible for downloading the film or who contributed to the downloading of the movie by negligence. In this case negligence is leaving their wireless network unsecured.

“Defendants failed to adequately secure their Internet access, whether accessible only through their computer when physically connected to an Internet router or accessible to many computers by use of a wireless router,” Liberty Media claimed. “Defendants’ negligent actions allowed others to unlawfully copy and share Plaintiff’s copyrighted Motion Picture, proximately causing financial harm to Plaintiff and unlawfully interfering with Plaintiff’s exclusive rights in the Motion Picture.”

Massachusetts based attorney, Marvin Cable, who is representing two of the defendants in the case said, “this negligence theory is a novel one.” If Liberty Media Holdings LLC wins this case it would set a precedent that would impact not only individuals who fail to secure their wireless connections but also businesses that provide free Internet access like coffee shops and libraries.

Cable feels that because there is no precedent for negligence that Liberty Media is going to have a hard time making that case. Either way it’s a case worth keeping an eye on especially for it’s implications to businesses. Do you secure your WiFi connection? Let us know what you think of this in the comments.

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There are 13 comments

olyteddy
Senior Moderator
Posted on: 07 Feb 12 03:49
    What's next? McDonalds? Starbucks? The Public Library? I mean really...
    Mr. Belvedere
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 07 Feb 12 11:35
      There goes my Pirate Box.

      Oh wait.. i'm not the United Corporate Greed States of the Americas! I'm in Europe!!

      Oh wait.. i'm still screwed!
      UTR
      MyCE Resident
      Posted on: 07 Feb 12 14:33
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by olyteddy
        What's next? McDonalds? Starbucks? The Public Library? I mean really...
        I guess what is next is a shooting victim will be charged for being in the path of the bullet.
        blegs38552
        MyCE Member
        Posted on: 07 Feb 12 14:40
          Of course I secure my wireless - WPA2 and hide my network. Most readers of this web site, who are more tech savvy than most probably do.

          The implications for public web sites could be a lot worse. If the plaintiffs were to win this case, the who idea of public web sites will have to be rethought.
          coolcolors
          MyCE Resident
          Posted on: 07 Feb 12 15:26
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by blegs38552
            Of course I secure my wireless - WPA2 and hide my network. Most readers of this web site, who are more tech savvy than most probably do.

            The implications for public web sites could be a lot worse. If the plaintiffs were to win this case, the who idea of public web sites will have to be rethought.
            Actually there would be no public wifi anymore. Put this way the computer will be tossed out and books will be back in play. Let's see how people really take it to the stomach if all the computers including wifi goes away. Let's just see how those so called Congress people secure their door at work and home when people come lynching them???? Killing public wifi is just akin to what Google and Wikipedia did to show people what kinda censorship Nazi this US Congress has become. A truly Nazi Communist country......FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            And we all here knows what is was like before computers and the internet only those with access had the control ... this is a form of Censorship and Big Brother Control.
            Mr. Belvedere
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 07 Feb 12 16:42
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by UTR
              I guess what is next is a shooting victim will be charged for being in the path of the bullet.
              I see your shooting victim and raise you with flying body parts.
              quitbugging
              New Member
              Posted on: 07 Feb 12 22:21
                It looks like it is safer to leave your house unlocked than your Wi-Fi.

                If you leave your house unlocked and a burglar takes advantage of this, there is a good chance that the thief will not take as much as a copyright troll does. Also, apart from a police inspection if reported, at least it's over and done with.

                Not so if you've a copyright troll like this after you; this is like a very deterimined thief that can persist or months or years until you surrender your cash and where the police can't help.
                coolcolors
                MyCE Resident
                Posted on: 08 Feb 12 01:46
                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by etdragon
                  The suit was filed by Liberty Media Holdings LLC, a San Diego company that produces adult content.
                  Forgot to notice but considering what is says they produce it brings very little credibility to their claims as well.
                  hogger129
                  MyCE Member
                  Posted on: 13 Feb 12 02:11
                    So what happens if you secure your network and someone hacks into it? Then are you still responsible?

                    They should be able to prove that YOU downloaded the stuff, not merely collect your IP and hope that will hold up as evidence.
                    Mr. Belvedere
                    MyCE Resident
                    Posted on: 14 Feb 12 12:19
                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by hogger129
                      So what happens if you secure your network and someone hacks into it? Then are you still responsible?
                      If someone steals your loaded gun and kills everybody on school with it, are you responsible?

                      A: Yes, because you kept it loaded.

                      A2: Not if you followed normal safety procedures, in which case there would never be a loaded gun in the first place.

                      Morale: Do every prevention of misuse you can, because only that will hold up in court.

                      Quote:
                      They should be able to prove that YOU downloaded the stuff, not merely collect your IP and hope that will hold up as evidence.
                      "They" do not have to do anything at all. "They" read the law as if it were a Vulcan logic debate.
                      hogger129
                      MyCE Member
                      Posted on: 14 Feb 12 15:28
                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Mr. Belvedere
                        If someone steals your loaded gun and kills everybody on school with it, are you responsible?

                        A: Yes, because you kept it loaded.

                        A2: Not if you followed normal safety procedures, in which case there would never be a loaded gun in the first place.

                        Morale: Do every prevention of misuse you can, because only that will hold up in court.

                        "They" do not have to do anything at all. "They" read the law as if it were a Vulcan logic debate.
                        You sound like a whiny liberal, and as a gun owner I can tell you that if you report your stolen firearm immediately, you aren't responsible for what somebody does with it. All they can sue you for is negligence, and even there that's just a slap on the wrist. You're supposed to keep record of all the information like the serial number, a description of the firearm, etc. That way if it gets stolen, you report it, they know what to look for. It's happened to a friend of mine. His gun(s) were stolen and he was never prosecuted because he reported it.

                        Normal safety procedures would dictate that you keep your loaded firearm locked up and that you're the only one holding the key.
                        _chef_
                        MyCE Resident
                        Posted on: 15 Feb 12 09:24
                          Quote:
                          Originally Posted by Mr. Belvedere
                          There goes my Pirate Box.

                          Oh wait.. i'm not the United Corporate Greed States of the Americas! I'm in Europe!!

                          Oh wait.. i'm still screwed!
                          Great!

                          I think you also updated your location... again.

                          "Location: in space!"
                          Mr. Belvedere
                          MyCE Resident
                          Posted on: 15 Feb 12 15:50
                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by hogger129
                            You sound like a whiny liberal, and as a gun owner I can tell you that if you report your stolen firearm immediately, you aren't responsible for what somebody does with it. All they can sue you for is negligence, and even there that's just a slap on the wrist. You're supposed to keep record of all the information like the serial number, a description of the firearm, etc. That way if it gets stolen, you report it, they know what to look for. It's happened to a friend of mine. His gun(s) were stolen and he was never prosecuted because he reported it.

                            Normal safety procedures would dictate that you keep your loaded firearm locked up and that you're the only one holding the key.
                            I wasn't talking about US laws.

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