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Unprotected Wi-fi Networks
Many businesses, including Mobile Home and Holiday Parks, now offer free Wi-fi as part of their service. This Wi-fi may not always be secured by a password.
The European Court of Justice (“EJC”) has recently decided whether a business offering an unprotected wireless network can be found liable, where a person using that network has infringed copyright law.
The ECJ decided that where the free network is provided as part of a business service, in order to advertise the services or goods provided by the business, the business has a defence against liability.
The ECJ further decided that the business providing a free wireless network for those purposes could not be ordered to pay damages relating to the copyright infringement. The owner of the copyright, could however, ask a court to make an order against the business to prevent further infringement.
Giving an example of potential action, the court said that the business could be required to password protect the connection, so that users would be required to reveal their identity in order to receive the password. This would prevent anonymous use of the network.
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