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Californian Judge Declares No Legal Obligation to Secure Wi-Fi From Pirates
by Zoe Chevat | 1:59 pm, September 13th, 2012
At my last address, my at-the-time roommate and I were dismayed when, one morning, we were slapped with a Digital Millennium Copyright Violation warning by our Internet service provider. The charge was televison-show-specific, and while we’d both been guilty of indiscriminate minor acts of piracy in the past (college, we swear), we were damned if we were going to get blamed for our neighbor’s need to find out what happens on Boardwalk Empire. We scrambled to lock down our easily-hackable connection, and that was that.
If it had been a couple years later, it turns out, we need not have worried. And, as with so many Internet breakthroughs, this score-one-for-the-side-of-the-user all starts with porn.
As reported on our bro site, Geekosystem (fistbump, guys), a California judge has ruled that Internet subscribers are under no legal obligation to secure their connections, meaning, if they have an unsecured connection, they’re not liable for any piracy that occurs over it and gets traced back to their IP address. The case was brought to court when a video pornography company, AF Holdings, sued IP holder Josh Hatfield. Hatfield claimed that he had no connection to the site, and his defense argued that he could not be held accountable for piracy that occurred over his connection. Judge Phyllis Hamilton agreed, setting an important precedent in what will hardly be the final battle in the long-running fight between companies and consumers.
In the meantime, even though you don’t have to, California…I’d still lock down that signal.
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