Recently a German retailer was taken to court by Sony Entertainment over a song which was illegally uploaded on their free Wi-Fi by an anonymous patron. As a result of the case (McFadden v Sony Entertainment) a ruling has been passed by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that retailers offering free Wi-Fi to the general public will not be held liable for damages or costs resulting from a customer using their network to break copyright.
This is a big relief for all retailers and venues offering free Wi-Fi to the public. This ruling decisively shows that venue operators supplying free Wi-Fi are now on a level playing field with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in respect of protection from liability for acts carried out by their customers without their knowledge.
As with ISP’s there is no “get out of jail free card” and does not mean a Free Wi-Fi provider can wipe their hands clean of responsibilities. Wi-Fi networks that are repeatedly used for copyright infringement could still risk a court case.
ISP’s have to demonstrate they are actively looking to limit the ability to commit copyright breaches and they do this using a number of means, such as:
• Blocking access known websites used to breach copyright
• Record basic IP and device information
• Actively work with copyright holders to identify breaches
Taking these measures is a step in the right direction and shows willingness to tackle the global problem.
To avoid ending up in court just like an ISP it would be prudent to implement measures and technology that allows you to:
• Control access to websites
• Implement a Sign in process that captures the devices details
• Deploy IDP and IPS solutions to detect and prevent suspicious traffic
• Record and audit Wi-Fi connections
• Block devices that are in breach of your policies
• React to incidents and problems occurring on the Wi-Fi
By having this insight into usage, enforcement of your policies, and restrictions on usage you will be in a position to demonstrate you take copyright breaches seriously.
To discover how you can achieve these measures using technology speak to one of our consultants today.