The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has ruled that a provider of a WiFi network which is freely open to the public cannot be held liable for copyright infringement carried out by users of the network. However, the ruling in McFadden v Sony also confirmed that a right holder can seek an injunction against a business providing access to its WiFi connection to prevent further infringement of its Intellectual Property (IP) rights. The Court also said that such an injunction could include a requirement that the internet connection is password-protected, provided that users are required to confirm their identity in order to obtain the password.
Whilst in practice, most businesses require passwords to access their connection - although it may not be feasible always to police easily the information given by a user to obtain the password - this decision may have significant implications for those businesses that allow unrestricted access such as, for example, cafes and bars.
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