EU Considering Copyright Infringement Liability for Open Wi-Fi Providers
A Munich court is seeking guidance from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on whether Wi-Fi providers can be held liable for copyright infringement by users’ activity on open networks. See Out-Law.com, Are Open Wi-Fi Network Bods Liable for Users’ Copyright Badness? EU Top Court to Make Ruling, The Register.co.uk, Nov. 11, 2014, In 2010, Germany’s top court ruled that private Wi-Fi operators are required to password-protect their networks to avoid liability should third parties use the connection for illegal activity. See Kristen Grieshaber, German Court Orders Wireless Passwords for All: Users Can Be Fined If a Third Party Takes Advantage of an Open Connection, MSNBC.com, May 12, 2010. However, the EU’s E-Commerce Directive may provide a safe harbor for businesses acting as mere conduits of material. If the CJEU rules that businesses cannot be held liable, the law will impose higher legal standards on individuals than businesses in Germany, according to the Register.