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.