Press Release 14.5.2012

Helsinki, Finland

Finnish Court: Open WiFi Owner Not Liable for File-Sharing Copyright Infringement

In a landmark ruling, a Finnish District Court (Ylivieskan käräjäoikeus) has today clarified the legal status of WiFi owners for internet file-sharing in the light of various pieces of EU legislation.

Finnish Anti-Piracy Centre, a coalition of entertainment industry rights-holders, had sued a Finnish woman for copyright infringement, demanding compensation of circa 6000 euros for internet file-sharing conducted with the Direct Connect (DC++) protocol through her internet connection.

This alleged copyright infringement had taken place in a specific 12-minute period in July 14 2010, a date when a summer theater play with an audience of around hundred people was held at the premises of the former school owned and resided by the lady.

The applicants were unable to provide any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing. The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with a password can be deemed to constitute a copyright-infringing act.

Crucially, the applicants also sought an injunction to prevent the defendant for committing any similar acts in the future. Had the injunction been granted, the legal status of various open WiFi providers would have turned out extremely difficult, as rights-owners would have been provided with a powerful legal weapon to shut them down in cases of similar, arguably insignificant infringements by incidental visitors and customers.

In practice, the court interpreted the Finnish legislation involving the implementation of several directives in force throughout the EU (especially the Directive 2000/31/EC on certain legal aspects of information society services, the Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC and the Copyright Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC.)

Finally, the court concluded that the WiFi owner cannot be deemed liable for the infringements actually committed by third parties.

If the applicants appeal, the case will be examined in the Vaasa Court of Appeals. A preliminary reference to the European Court of Justice, settling the issue once and for all throughout Europe, still remains a conceivable option.

The defendant was represented in the district court by Turre Legal lawyers Ville Oksanen and Lassi Jyrkkiö.

Additional Information:

Ville Oksanen (LL.M, PhD)

Partner, Turre Legal Oy

ville.oksanen@turre.com, +358 40 5368583

26 Comments
  • [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement | HTC EVO update May 15, 2012 at 03:23

    [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s lawyers wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The courtroom therefore examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi link not safeguarded [...]

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  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement | freeinkcartridges.info May 15, 2012 at 03:27

    [...] herself had been concerned in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The courtroom thus examined regardless of whether the mere act of providing a WiFi link not [...]

    Reply
  • [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement | HTC EVO 3D Release Date May 15, 2012 at 07:19

    [...] herself had been concerned in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press launch on Monday. “The court hence examined whether the mere act of supplying a WiFi link not protected with a [...]

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  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement : Information Technology Leader May 15, 2012 at 08:31

    [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringementQuick iPhone Apps | Quick iPhone Apps May 15, 2012 at 10:35

    [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Sie betreibt ein offenes WLAN und war zur Tatzeit gar nicht zu Hause. Ein Bezirksgericht hat jetzt entschieden, “dass ein WLAN-Inhaber nicht für Vergehen Dritter verantwortlich gemacht werden [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by emilio May 15, 2012 at 12:19

    hola, es penoso que te denucien por tener el wifi abierto.... TODOS LO WIFIS ABIERTOS!!! un saludo desde españa

    Reply
  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement | MyTouch 4G Review May 15, 2012 at 11:57

    [...] herself had been concerned in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s lawyers wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The courtroom as a result examined whether or not the mere act of providing a WiFi link not [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Finnish court rules open WiFi network owner not liable for infringement | Verizon LTE Phones May 15, 2012 at 12:11

    [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s lawyers wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The courtroom thus examined whether or not the mere act of providing a WiFi link not protected [...]

    Reply
  • [...] any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” explains Ville Oksanen from Turre Legal, the law firm defending the [...]

    Reply
  • [...] any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” explains Ville Oksanen from Turre Legal, the law firm defending the [...]

    Reply
  • [...] any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” explains Ville Oksanen from Turre Legal, the law firm defending the [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Notrackingme | Proxy » Blog Archive » Open WiFi Owner Not Liable For Illegal File-Sharing, Court Rules May 15, 2012 at 14:05

    [...] any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” explains Ville Oksanen from Turre Legal, the law firm defending the [...]

    Reply
  • [...] übersetze die Quelle mal frei und [...]

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  • [...] Sie betreibt ein offenes WLAN und war zur Tatzeit gar nicht zu Hause. Ein Bezirksgericht hat jetzt entschieden, “dass ein WLAN-Inhaber nicht für Vergehen Dritter verantwortlich gemacht werden [...]

    Reply
  • [...] A Finnish court has ruled that merely operating an open WiFi access point does not make you liable for copyright infringements committed on your network. From the defense attorney’s press release: [...]

    Reply
  • [...] herself had been involved in the file-sharing,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in an English-language press release on Monday. “The court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a WiFi connection not protected with [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Webdesign Maroc La Finlande ne condamne pas la non sécurisation d’un réseau WiFi | Webdesign Maroc May 16, 2012 at 11:01

    [...] tenaient à portée du réseau WiFi de l’accusée. L’avocate de l’abonnée précise, dans un communiqué : « Les plaignants n’ont pas été en mesure d’apporter des preuves que l’abonnée avait [...]

    Reply
  • [...] blog is for LJ the academic, not LJ the lawyer. Sometimes they intertwine: one example is the recent WiFi liability case our client won in the District Court (it ain’t over ’til…). It has now gone “viral” around the world, [...]

    Reply
  • [...] open WiFi user is not automatically liable for copyright infringement done via her network. As the press release about the case states, the anti-piracy group that brought the lawsuit failed to show any evidence [...]

    Reply
  • [...] finnisches Gericht wies jedoch eine entsprechende Klage des Rechteinhabers ab. Dies begründeten die Richter damit, dass Inanspruchnahme für das Handeln fremder Personen im [...]

    Reply
  • Posted by Denmark ices ‘three strikes’ piracy plan, opts for carrot and stick | ZDNet June 22, 2012 at 16:13

    [...] scenario was tested in a Finnish district court recently: it ruled against a claim by the Finnish Anti-Piracy Centre that a particular individual could be [...]

    Reply
  • [...] finnisches Gericht hat auf der Grundlage der auch in Deutschland geltenden EU-Richtlinien bereits entschieden, dass ein privater Betreiber eines offenen WLAN-Internetzugangs für darüber begangene [...]

    Reply

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