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German User Fined For Having an Open Wi-Fi 563

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the half-of-you-are-guilty dept.
Kilrah_il writes "A German citizen was sued for copyright infringement because copyrighted material was downloaded through his network while he was on vacation. Although the court did not find him guilty of copyright infringement, he was fined for not having password-protected his network: 'Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation,' the court said."
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German User Fined For Having an Open Wi-Fi

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  • I see. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:00AM (#32193486) Homepage

    So does this mean if I accidentally leave our apartment unlocked one morning, someone breaks in, steals one of our daggers or guns, and commits a crime...that we could be charged for aiding a criminal?

    • Re:I see. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Itninja (937614) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:02AM (#32193502) Homepage
      If the court thinks you did it on purpose, then yes it does. If it was truly accidental then i think you could still get sued in civil court for negligence. There have been many cases of people not their securing firearms being successfully sued when someone dies as a result.
      • Re:I see. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mysidia (191772) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:11AM (#32193654)

        Well, WiFi is not designed to be used for copyright infringement, even if open, and such things are commonplace/readily available.

        It's more like someone walked in through an unlocked door in your house, stole a fork from your silverware drawer, and stabbed someone to death with it.

        And now you the homeowner are being charged with the murder, because you leaving your door unlocked allowed the fork to be used.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gzipped_tar (1151931)

          Comparing copyright infringement to murder is sickening. This is the pattern in which Big Media wants us to think.

        • Re:I see. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:30AM (#32193930)
          No, the homeowner is being charged with leaving the door unlocked, not murder. And, since he did leave the door unlocked, that is entirely fair.
          • Re:I see. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:38AM (#32194036)

            And, since he did leave the door unlocked, that is entirely fair.

            We must have skipped over the part where it became reasonable for a government to tell you that you must lock your door.

          • Precisely. This is exactly like making it illegal to leave your door unlocked. Whether that's a good idea or not is up for debate.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Murder? Wow. Way off.

          This is more akin to having a car that everybody in the neighborhood shares. Therefore it's always open. Some creep takes the car, gets charged with speeding, and the owner gets jailtime for negligence. This law is basically discouraging charity & sharing. It's stupid and typical of a judge who should not be a judge.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        There have been many cases of people not their securing firearms being successfully sued when someone dies as a result.

        Yes, if you don't secure a firearm and one of your kids uses it to blow his friend's brains out then you are liable. But the GP talked about someone breaking in -- why should you be liable in that instance? It's your fault that a someone decided to break the law and steal your property?

        I wish that everyone was held to the same standards as gun owners. As a random example, we just had a guy in our town charged with reckless endangerment (a misdemeanor) for putting a bullet through his neighbors apartment

        • It's your fault that a someone decided to break the law and steal your property?

          If you haven't taken adequate steps to secure it, yes. If you leave broken glass all over your property and don't put up any warning signs, someone can trespass or break in and successfully sue you for damages. Not in criminal law, but in common law you typically have an obligation even with your own private property.

          In reality you're probably not likely to get sued for having someone break in and steal your gun and commit a c

          • Way to not read the guy's WHOLE message. His point was even about that. His point was that Cars are more dangerous than guns, and yet we let car drivers operate their equipment with minimal oversight.

          • Off topib, but (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357)

            I'll add that the homeowner's liability for injuries to criminals who are trespassing and/or breaking in are quite different from one state to another. We don't all live in La-La-Land - errrr - I meant California. I read one story where a burglar hurt himself after falling through a roof, or a skylight, or some such. He successfully sued the homeowner, in California. In a more reasonable state, like Texas, the homeowner could have SHOT the SOB, and claimed that he was startled, and feared for his life.

        • by Itninja (937614)
          There was never a criminal charge for the WiFi thing. From TFA:

          The ruling came after a musician, who the court did not identify, sued an Internet user whose wireless connection was used to illegally download a song which was subsequently offered on an online file sharing network.

          and...

          ...but when was the last time you saw someone receive a criminal charge for an automobile accident that resulted in property damage and no personal injury?

          Happens all the time. If it's deemed reckless is not an infraction, it

        • by rfuilrez (1213562)

          A few years ago I crashed into a light pole. I was charged with Wreck-less Driving and Damage to City Property. But I guess my county is a bit of a hardass when it comes to charging traffic bullshit. We're located right next door to Cook county (Chicagos county). They gotta prosecute something...

      • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:23AM (#32193838) Homepage

        is that it often comes down to a failure to do right and a need to blame someone. If someone steals a gun and commits a crime with it, they should be 100% civilly responsible. Allowing the victim of the theft to be sued is nothing more than indulging the blood lust of the victim and their family who want anyone connected with it to pay dearly.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Itninja (937614)
          SO there is no such thing as negligence? As an example, if I am babysitting a neighbors 13 y/o daughter and allow her to go, alone, to a frat party and she get drunk and then raped, am I not at least partially responsible?
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        I disagree, if your house/apartment door is closed, there was no 'invitation' thus they broke the law, not you. If you have leave it wide open with a sign ' free beer party', and you don't take steps to at least close your bedroom door, then ya, you are negligent.

        However that said, you can be sued in civil court for anything, by anyone.. doesn't mean its valid or you will lose but they can.

    • Re:I see. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by conares (1045290) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:03AM (#32193518)
      Only if they make copies of your CD's and/or DVD's
    • Re:I see. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jdunn14 (455930) <jdunn @ i guanaworks.net> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:03AM (#32193520) Homepage

      Though I agree with the sentiment, at least your gun doesn't broadcast it's presence in the house to the potential criminal. That is a significant difference between the two scenarios.

      • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

        Though I agree with the sentiment, at least your gun doesn't broadcast it's presence in the house to the potential criminal. That is a significant difference between the two scenarios.

        Are you sure his did? It's still perfectly possible to track down a router not broadcasting.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash (241428)

          It's safe to say he didn't. If he had configured his router to not broadcast the SSID, then he would, legally (in most jurisdictions, I assume Germany is no different), have taken proactive steps to secure his network (even if they were token efforts) and we wouldn't have a story.

          Virtually every security device can be circumvented, and as a result the question usually comes down to "Did you make an effort or not?" For much the same reason, DVD's CSS system was still considered an access control mechanism

          • by ivan_w (1115485)

            Virtually every security device can be circumvented

            Citation needed...

            • Re:I see. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:44AM (#32194150) Homepage Journal

              OK. Let me give you an example.

              The guy decides to really secure his network. He disables broadcasting the SSID, and implements WPA2 encryption. This, however, provides access only to a small non-Internet connected mini-network with no DHCP and one machine, identified by IP address only, which only responds (ie no pinging) to a specific IP address using the ports needed for an IPsec VPN. The VPN, in turn, uses 1024 bit blowfish encryption and requires a SecureID password to initiate the connection. The VPN provides access to the outside world, but requires you already know the IP addresses of the DNS server and default router, none of which are in an easily guessable netblock.

              The system is also set up so any unauthorized activity results in the outside connection being dropped (ie any attempts to guess the passwords result in the wireless router shutting itself down. And, just to add that extra special extra layer of security, the owner switches off the entire system when he leaves to go on vacation.

              So an elite hacker comes along and has access to the network within thirty seconds. How does he do it? How does he circumvent all these security measures?

              Answer: he throws a brick through the window, enters the house, and HOOKS HIS LAPTOP UP TO THE DSL MODEM.

              Virtually every security device can be circumvented.

            • Re:I see. (Score:4, Informative)

              by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:46AM (#32194202) Homepage

              Um... Every book ever written on security? Name a security instrument. I'll show you how to circumvent it. It may not be easy, it may not be practical, it may not even be more than theoretical, but there's probably a way. The question is merely a matter of whether the data you're protecting is worth the effort required to get through your security. For instance there's a trivial way to break full disk encryption [xkcd.com], but most people won't use it due to it's violating a number of very serious laws. (Your porn collection may be excellent, but it isn't worth 25 to life)

        • by idontgno (624372)

          Well, "not broadcasting" as in "not broadcasting its SSID", sure. "Not broadcasting" as in "Not emitting any RF signals in the 2.4, 3.6 or 5 GHz frequency bands", not so much, since that means the router is switched off.

          So a non-SSID-broadcasting router is a gun shouting "I'm a gun!". An SSID-broadcasting router is a gun shouting "I'm a gun, and my serial number is...."

          I'm still getting the sense we're not really addressing all aspects of this issue. Maybe if we reformulated this into a pizza analogy...

      • by zill (1690130)
        So if I just turn off SSID broadcast it'll be ok?
    • The court said that he wasn't found guilty for copyright infringement, which would be analogous in your example to being found guilty for aiding a criminal. You would be charged with failing to secure your residence, much in the same way that he was charged with failing to secure his wifi.

    • Re:I see. (Score:4, Informative)

      by GameMaster (148118) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:05AM (#32193550)

      Not sure about the dagger, and IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that in most places in the US you could be, successfully, sued for not properly securing your firearms. It strikes me that leaving an apartment//home unlocked when you know you have a gun in it could be construed as reckless behavior. Owning a gun is a right, but you have an obligation to practice that right in a responsible manner.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        Couldn't the same be said for all your rights? ;)

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        It strikes me that leaving an apartment//home unlocked when you know you have a gun in it could be construed as reckless behavior. Owning a gun is a right, but you have an obligation to practice that right in a responsible manner.

        Agreed. We have a gun safe for most of our firearms, as well as one of those mini-safes with the four-button combination lock under our bed.

        My fiancee jokes that we don't need that one for home protection, as the the combination of what she looks like after being woken up and my breath upon waking, we already have deadly weapons :p

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      ...except this situation is more like leaving your guns on the porch with a big sign saying "free guns".

      The key thing here is that I don't have to go anywhere to see my neighbor's
      poorly set up wireless network. I can see it from the comfort of my own
      living room and it might even interfere with any network I might want to
      set up.

      This isn't just about "something in your own house". You broadcast it to everyone.

      It's more like a magical gun safe that puts an unlocked door in every living room on your block.

      If yo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But at what point do we draw the line? I love reading and posting on /. and my current job is IT, but my Master's is in Anthropology. If a hairy-knuckled liberal arts person like myself can crack WEP in a matter of minutes are we going to require that people use WPA? And once that becomes easier to crack are we going to require the use of the next iteration? Heck there are times when I leave my truck unlocked, I sure hope that if somebody hot-wired it and took it on a 4 state killing spree I wouldn't be
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)

      As a matter of fact, in most countries (and US states, I believe) you are required to adequately secure your guns. So if it's just lying around on the table in your unlocked home, you may well be liable. If the thieves have to break open your gun locker, you're not.

      And that's pretty much what the court said. Turn on encryption and change the default password and you're fine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        As a matter of fact, in most countries (and US states, I believe) you are required to adequately secure your guns.

        I live in one of the most anti-gun states in the union and there's no laws pertaining to gun storage on the books here. You could be charged with other crimes if you do something stupid (i.e: reckless endangerment if leave a gun lying around when you have kids in the house) but it's not a crime in of itself to leave a gun lying out in the open.

        Such laws are one-size-fits-all solutions anyway. What's "adequately" secure? If you have kids or a mentally ill housemate then the guns need to be under your dir

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by modecx (130548)

        Actually, most US states have very little to say about gun storage, mostly because proposed laws have been successfully recognized and opposed for what they are: incremental steps to paramount to prohibition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So does this mean if I accidentally leave our apartment unlocked one morning, someone breaks in, steals one of our daggers or guns, and commits a crime...that we could be charged for aiding a criminal?

      Actually, yes. At least in Canada, anyways. If you own a firearm in Canada, there are so many regulations surrounding proper storage and securing of that firearm that while you may not be charged with accessory with murder, you would find yourself in plenty of other hot water.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Actually in some countries failure to secure your guns is a crime.

    • I like the thought, and others have commented on gun safety. Here's mine:

      YOU leave YOUR apartment unlocked.

      Bad guy enters YOUR apartment and uses YOUR telephone to make prank, obscene, or threatening phone calls.

      The Court finds that YOU didn't make any of those calls.

      YOU should not be fined because it's YOUR choice to lock or unlock your apartment.
      YOU are blameless.

      I guess it's not unusual to find the world mollycoddling the "Big Content" slimeballs.

      E

    • by sdpuppy (898535)
      I think it's more akin to leaving your car running with the doors open while middle school is letting out.

      I'm not saying that this analog makes it wrong or right - this is SlashDot where car analogies are a requirement.

    • by joebok (457904)

      I think it more appropriate to ask - if you leave your door unlocked and somebody walks in and rips your CDs and DVDs, are you - as the homeowner - negligent or in any way culpable?

    • I know, it sounds like a pretty colleague who just won't let you work but there really is such a doctrine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractive_nuisance_doctrine [wikipedia.org]
    • If you store weapons and don't adequately secure them, you'd certainly be in trouble.

      On the other hand, if you left your cellphone lying around and it gets used to commit fraud, then you shouldn't be responsible for that. This is more like that, I think.

    • Re:I see. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cruciform (42896) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#32194854) Homepage

      During our firearm safety course the instructor talked of a friend with a collection rivaling his (huge) that had the equivalent of a bank safe full of guns in his basement. He went on vacation, and while he was gone thieves broke into his house and apparently spent *days* breaking into the vault with a jackhammer and other tools. They finally cleaned him out.

      When he returned home and reported the theft he was charged with improper storage of firearms. Their reasoning? Because he left the collection without someone to check on it while he was gone he wasn't taking adequate responsibility to ensure the guns didn't fall into the wrong hands.

      Heavy fines and a firearms ownership ban were applied. This took place in Canada.

  • "'Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation,' the court said." What exactly do they mean by adequately secured? Can they fine us for using WEP or WPA instead of the latest and greatest?
  • by MachDelta (704883) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:04AM (#32193540)

    In soviet Germany, WiFi unsecures you!

    Or your wallet, anyways.

  • by toooskies (1810002) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:07AM (#32193590)
    He was fined 100 euro because a single user downloaded a single song illegally. One song. A hundred twenty-five times its retail value. And he didn't even download it. Copyright is out of control.
    • One song. A hundred twenty-five times its retail value.

      You telling me Britney Spears isn't worth at least that?
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:50AM (#32194266)

      No, the media industry's out of control. Maniacal copyright infringement suits are their current approach to profit maximisation, but saying that copyright law is the problem makes it seem like the media industry is innocently obeying an unjust law. They're not. If we fix copyright tort, they'll do something else. Maybe demonise indie music as some sex-and-drugs scene to discourage parents from letting their kids buy off-label music, or convince the press that homebrew games destroy the mainstream games industry. They've taken an unscrupulous approach to maximizing their ROI, and so fixing the laws they exploit is not enough. We've got to stop supporting them.

  • Botnets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symes (835608) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:08AM (#32193610) Journal
    So all those German citizens daft enough to allow thier machines to become part of a botnet are, technically, at risk of prosecution?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xlotlu (1395639)

      Now there's an interesting idea. Someone should code a botnet that only downloads and shares copyrighted content, nothing else malicious.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:08AM (#32193612)
    So, I guess now the German people are being expected to work for the benefit of the copyright lobby. This sounds like the tail wagging the dog -- first the government works for the industry's benefit, and then it starts to require the people it is supposed to represent to do the same.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)

      Now there's an idea.

      The people in Germany (and elsewhere?) are expected to secure their facilities to protect the RIAA's clients. So the RIAA should pay them for their efforts.

  • I hope not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Carewolf (581105) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:09AM (#32193632) Homepage

    I hope there is slightly more to this story than the summary suggests. It seems absurd unless they have a law against sharing your internet connection. I personally have an open guest network with no protection, but then so do every major company, all libraries, schools, the trains and even the busses here in copenhagen.

  • actual judgement (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:10AM (#32193642) Homepage Journal

    The actual judgement is a bit more level-headed than the /. summary makes it to be.

    The judge essentially said you ought to have some minimum level of security, elst you're liable for damages, much like everything else (e.g. if you don't put the brakes on in your car and it starts to roll and crashes into something).

    The standard requested is pretty much "turn on encryption and change the default password".

    Most commentators agree that for home users, not much will change. Unless you're an idiot, you already have these things for your home network. The challenge will mostly be to hotels, Starbucks, etc. with their open hotspots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And why can't I run an open hotspot if I want to?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nextekcarl (1402899)

        Then you get fined if someone breaks the law using your connection. Do it enough and you'll probably get charged with aiding and abetting. Though IANAL, it seems obvious enough. If you want to be an ISP, then you have to keep records indicating who your customers are (even if they aren't paying anything) so that the criminal can be found. I'm not saying I agree with any of this, but it seems easy enough to understand, given our typical current legal structure (I'm assuming Germany isn't too terribly differe

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by icebraining (1313345)

      (e.g. if you don't put the brakes on in your car and it starts to roll and crashes into something).

      Wrong analogy. Unlike the car, the router by itself wouldn't cause any damage. *Someone* committed a crime, they should prosecute that guy.

      Unless you're an idiot, you already have these things for your home network.

      Then I guess I'm an idiot for being a nice guy and providing free access for people passing by. Why am I an idiot? My traffic is secure (I have two networks, one encrypted with WPA2-Enterprise with

    • by unix1 (1667411)

      The judge essentially said you ought to have some minimum level of security, elst you're liable for damages, much like everything else (e.g. if you don't put the brakes on in your car and it starts to roll and crashes into something).

      Sorry, wrong car analogy. How about this one:

      If your router is sitting loose at the edge of an open window, then wind blows and causes the curtain to move and drop the router through the window 10 stories falling on someone's head or car, you could be liable for damages, just like if the car didn't have brakes set in your analogy.

      On the other hand, leaving your wifi access open is like leaving you car unlocked. So, now you are liable if your car is unlocked, someone gets in your car and starts copying your

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zarzu (1581721)

      how is that more level-headed? you're just defining the adequate security part from the summary with "turn on encryption and change the default password". your car analogy doesn't work either, if i have an open wifi spot it doesn't just go on a frenzy and download stuff, which is what you are suggesting.

      the judgment here clearly means to say that an internet connections main purpose is to help you infringe on copyright. you won't get fined for sharing a fork with someone if that someone then goes to kill hi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:11AM (#32193660)

    While some of you slashdoters cannot even grasp what this means:
    You can leave your wifi open, you can download anything you want, and the maximal fine will be 100 EUR!
    I call that a big win where users would be sued up to 10.000 EUR for downloading/sharing music - this will put a dramatic lid on those things.

    Cheers.

  • by strayant (789108) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:11AM (#32193666)
    So, if this is how things are to be, I think that this guy should pass the buck to the manufacturer for not complying with local law. Such devices should be regulated in such a way that they cannot be sold to customers without ALREADY being secure out-of-the-box. Otherwise, I think that this should have no merit.
  • Not a bad idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FyRE666 (263011) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:16AM (#32193722) Homepage

    Maybe if this was extended to enforce a more responsible attitude for people leaving their PCs infected and sending out spam for months, I'd be all for it. Stupidity is no defence, so if you're irresponsible behaviour is causing misery for others, and potentially allowing a criminal offence to take place then you deserve to face charges.

    Driving a car with no license, or instruction is an offence and whilst spamming thousands of people isn't actually dangerous, it affects more individuals.

    Saying this, maybe wireless routers/modems shouldn't even have an option to operate in an open mode. Likewise, maybe ISPs shouldn't allow customers to send mail out on port 25 to random machines - just route it all through their own mail server. If a machine is sending a huge amount of mail, it's simple to block it until the user fixes their system. Surely it's not that fucking hard!

  • Soo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:17AM (#32193726) Homepage
    if I left my car doors unlocked (there is no law that says I have to do that) and someone used it to steal bunch of music cd from a retail store I be charged with copyright theft?
  • Quick (Score:5, Funny)

    by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@warrior ... SD.net minus bsd> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:22AM (#32193810)

    Someone go find the RIAA/MPAA or whatever the equivalent in Germany is, use their wifi (would WEP or WPA-TSK count as "adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation,'?) And start downloading everything you can think of. Lets see if they sue themselves.

  • This is disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selven (1556643) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:33AM (#32193970)

    Free public Wi-Fi is one of the most important public services of the 21st century. It gives anyone who can come up with the $200 for a netbook the ability to access the sum of human knowledge. It allows people to communicate over long distances in many more ways that a simple voice conversation. Anyone who comes up with the money for an unlimited internet connection and jeopardizes some of his privacy (or some convenience, if he uses some kind of proxy/encryption) to let anyone access the internet without paying high fees to greedy monopolistic corporations is doing good for society. Saying that he's doing evil since he's also allowing copyright infringement is like saying cars are evil since you can use one to get away from a robbery. All technology can be used for good and evil, but the internet being freely available to the public does hundreds of times more good than it does evil.

  • Or is that illegal in Germany?

    Lets up the status even more. How about a public library that offers free wifi?

    But assuming it is my responsibilitiy to detect/prevent/record the internet crimes of strangers in my area to allow the government to prosecute them, does that mean I am also legally required to put camers up all around my property to detect/prevent/record NON-internet related crimes?

    Moron judges should be fired, regardless of which country they are from.

  • by mseeger (40923) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:44AM (#32194158)

    Serious case of misleading headline.... The court said: "If you have an open WIFI and someone uses it to fileshare copyright protected material, the owner of the rights may send you a cease and desist letter (effectively insisting that you secure your WIFI) and extract 100,- Euro from you for covering the fees of the legal process."

    The user was not fined, he was not punished, he was not ordered to pay for the damages.

    CU, Martin

    P.S. Who wonders, that lawyers don't get the technical aspects right when the techies confuse the most elemental judical terms....

  • What law? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uffe_nordholm (1187961) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:44AM (#32194174)
    IANAL, and more specifically, IANAL in Germany, so my thinking might be off by several galaxies, but here goes anyway...

    As far as I know, you cannot be fined unless you do something illegal. In other words, there _must_ be at least one law you have broken with your actions or lack of actions. The obvious question then: _is_ there a law in Germany demanding that you secure your WiFi? Or is some law being extended to cover this situation?

    In my country laws are usually interpreted very strictly: if they mention (just for example) print media, the law is not usually assumed to include digital media as well. This is normally a good thing: actions/things that are not explicitly illegal are automatically legal.

  • by delire (809063) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:21PM (#32194704)
    The vast proportion of airports and hotels (increasingly cafe chains) in Europe have 'open' wireless networks that require browser authentication. You pump for an IP, are granted one, yet must authenticate in the browser (usually with a bite of your credit card) to get you through the gateway. Up until you authenticate you're a member of the LAN only. These APs usually have a EULA that prohibits such uses as the downloading of copyrighted material.

    So, what specifically constitutes a Protected Network in the context of this new law?
  • Open WIFI == ISP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goffster (1104287) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:38PM (#32194998)

    If you have an open WIFI, a prosecutor may be able to prove to a jury
    that you are an ISP. If ACTA goes through, and ISP's held accountable,
    then *you*, Mr Open WIFI, are liable.

  • A few more facts: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella (173770) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:51PM (#32195236) Homepage

    1. The network was in fact not open. It was secured with WPA1 and a default password (source, German [ferner-alsdorf.de])

    "Somit ist auch noch einmal zu Betonen: Es ging in der Entscheidung nicht um ein vollständig ungesichertes WLAN! Der BGH hat also nicht über ein offenes WLAN verhandelt, wie lange fälschlicherweise berichtet wurde. Vielmehr ging es ganz allgemein um die bedeutsame Frage, welche Sicherungspflichten die Betreiber von WLAN allgemein trifft."

    2. The 100 euro is not for copyright infringement, but rather it seems that in Germany the reciever of a DMCA-like notice is liable for up to 100 euro unless they can either a) Point the blame to someone else or b) Pass some standard of having done everything reasonable to avoid damage. That's at least how I read the law [dejure.org]:

    " 97a Abmahnung

    (1) Der Verletzte soll den Verletzer vor Einleitung eines gerichtlichen Verfahrens auf Unterlassung abmahnen und ihm Gelegenheit geben, den Streit durch Abgabe einer mit einer angemessenen Vertragsstrafe bewehrten Unterlassungsverpflichtung beizulegen. Soweit die Abmahnung berechtigt ist, kann der Ersatz der erforderlichen Aufwendungen verlangt werden.

    (2) Der Ersatz der erforderlichen Aufwendungen für die Inanspruchnahme anwaltlicher Dienstleistungen für die erstmalige Abmahnung beschränkt sich in einfach gelagerten Fällen mit einer nur unerheblichen Rechtsverletzung außerhalb des geschäftlichen Verkehrs auf 100 Euro."

    The key sentence here is "Soweit die Abmahnung berechtigt ist, kann der Ersatz der erforderlichen Aufwendungen verlangt werden." which translates to something like "When the warning is justified, compensation for the relevant expenses can be demanded." The second caps it to 100 euro for simple cases.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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