Court Rules on Merits of IP Address Identification in Open WiFi Case

cageymaru

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with a case about open WiFi and the responsibility of the owner of the network when someone commits copyright infringement on the IP address. Thomas Gonzalez was sued by the makers of the Adam Sandler movie, The Cobbler. He had won his initial day in court, but the copyright owners appealed the decision. In the new ruling, Judge Margaret McKeown had this to say, "In this copyright action, we consider whether a bare allegation that a defendant is the registered subscriber of an Internet Protocol ('IP') address associated with infringing activity is sufficient to state a claim for direct or contributory infringement." She then states, "We conclude that it is not."

The district court properly dismissed Cobbler Nevada's claims. The direct infringement claim fails because Gonzales's status as the registered subscriber of an infringing IP address, standing alone, does not create a reasonable inference that he is also the infringer. Because multiple devices and individuals may be able to connect via an IP address, simply identifying the IP subscriber solves only part of the puzzle. A plaintiff must allege something more to create a reasonable inference that a subscriber is also an infringer. Nor can Cobbler Nevada succeed on a contributory infringement theory because, without allegations of intentional encouragement or inducement of infringement, an individual's failure to take affirmative steps to police his internet connection is insufficient to state a claim.
 

Cyraxx

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Oh whats that? An Internet Protocol address isn't a one-to-one relationship to people? GEE who wudda thunk it?

We need a court case and an appeal to conclude this? No wonder our country is the short bus of litigation.
 

vegeta535

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Pretty shitty of a person to try and ruin someone's life over downloading a shitty movie. I guess it is one way to make back some of the losses from a flop.
 
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I didn't realize people were still getting sued for downloading stuff.
Is there something special about this case, or are the corporations still just randomly picking little guys to make an example of?
 

Teenk9

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Oh whats that? An Internet Protocol address isn't a one-to-one relationship to people? GEE who wudda thunk it?

We need a court case and an appeal to conclude this? No wonder our country is the short bus of litigation.

This is actually a good thing as it is now codified, at least in states under the Ninth Circuit's jurisdiction.
 

J3RK

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Still this guy is going to be hurting putting out all that money for a lawyer. This proabably going to be appealed over and over.

I don't disagree. It sucks all around, and he shouldn't have to worry about something like that. I'm just actually surprised that the court decided the right thing for once.
 

NeghVar

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Ignoring the fact that the person won, would an open personal WiFi network vs. a hacked personal Wifi network potentially make any difference?
 

gamerk2

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Correct ruling is correct.

Granted, I would agree an IP match would likely be enough to issue a search warrant, but by itself isn't enough to establish guilt absent any other evidence.
 

James Robinson

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I am absolutely certain whoever attempted to sue was not actually the copyright owner, but yet another troll acting on a loosely worded agreement to share a portion of any awarded monies WITH actual copyright owner. This shit has been going on for over 10 years, and it is USUALLY a group who has a tech/rep working on the inside of an ISP, farming data and passing on opportunities just like this to his/her cohorts.
 
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PaulP

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What? The 9th circus got it right? Maybe this is why they say that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
 
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Deleted member 93354

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The questions roles down to culpability. (The degree of measure someone can be held accountable for anothers actions) With huge forums like 4 chan it would be considered near impossible to prevent questionable material. As long as the owners puts in proper tools to allow reporting, forums become self regulating. However with a home network, the question becomes, to what degree is someone culpable when they fail to secure their network with basic protections, or use something like TOR as a exit node.

If you are going up against the government with near endless pockets, you better be prepared to bend over. A DA isn't going to prosecute unless he has a more than reasonable chance of winning because they are rated on their prosecution rate. Therefore they will use EVERY resource at their disposal. A private corporation on the other hand may decide it's not worth it.

Also a judge may not care about a small copywrite infringement. But he might care more if the crime is more serious. (Drugs, Trafficking, Espionage, Laundering, Illegal or classified images/docs, threats)

It's not worth ponying up the $50,000 to $500,000 to defend yourself for being lazy with your connection. Secure it reasonably.
 

umeng2002

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May 23, 2008
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Yeah, yeah guys, that's why it failed, someone was torrenting it off the internet... Jesus Christ... never underestimate the smallness of someone's dick.
 

Paladin21

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Correct ruling is correct.

Granted, I would agree an IP match would likely be enough to issue a search warrant, but by itself isn't enough to establish guilt absent any other evidence.

Just a note: you're only talking about a search warrant if the company can convince a prosecutor that it's worth their time to go after an alleged perpetrator for criminal copyright infringement. Basically all cases that hit the news are civil cases, they're lawsuits between the company and the defendants. While the IP match may be sufficient for court-ordered discovery, that's a different process than having cops show up with a search warrant.

Mandatory I am not a lawyer, etc.
 

Dan UCF

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I always wondered with these types of cases are they upset you downloaded it once for yourself, or for distribution to others? Then if the case was they were mad you distributed it to others they would have to prove you gave an entire copy to one person. If someone downloads 10% of a movie from you what are you actually guilty of, if anything?
 

DocNo

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At least we aren't Europe who can't seem to make up their minds - first this: eu_ends_anonymity_and_rules_open_wifi_hotspots_need_a_password

then this: https://dzone.com/articles/are-you-prepared-for-how-the-gdpr-will-change-wifi

I was trying to find something current on the open Wifi logging requirements but there is such a mish-mash of crap over the last five years it's been pretty much impossible. I have some European friends who have to deal with their BS - I'll have to ask 'em what the name is then it should be easy to track down; basically it's more along the lines of the first - anyone providing wifi has to be able to identify who is using it when required. Too funny that GDPR fly's in the face of that.
 

Chupachup

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Where's Pai to shit all over this case on behalf of his entertainment industry taskmasters?! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

velusip

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The questions roles down to culpability. (The degree of measure someone can be held accountable for anothers actions) With huge forums like 4 chan it would be considered near impossible to prevent questionable material. As long as the owners puts in proper tools to allow reporting, forums become self regulating. However with a home network, the question becomes, to what degree is someone culpable when they fail to secure their network with basic protections, or use something like TOR as a exit node.

If you are going up against the government with near endless pockets, you better be prepared to bend over. A DA isn't going to prosecute unless he has a more than reasonable chance of winning because they are rated on their prosecution rate. Therefore they will use EVERY resource at their disposal. A private corporation on the other hand may decide it's not worth it.

Also a judge may not care about a small copywrite infringement. But he might care more if the crime is more serious. (Drugs, Trafficking, Espionage, Laundering, Illegal or classified images/docs, threats)

It's not worth ponying up the $50,000 to $500,000 to defend yourself for being lazy with your connection. Secure it reasonably.
That's true. All mesh networks that I have joined in the past required all traffic to be encrypted to avoid this kind of case. Since full encryption greatly limits general use of the mesh for general "web stuff", meshes aren't very popular. The "exit node" problem will persist until more similar cases are examined and ruled safe for the node administrator, and/or more endpoint encryption protocols are standardized for more connection types -- and progress in that field has been absolutely glacial.
 

J3RK

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That's true. All mesh networks that I have joined in the past required all traffic to be encrypted to avoid this kind of case. Since full encryption greatly limits general use of the mesh for general "web stuff", meshes aren't very popular. The "exit node" problem will persist until more similar cases are examined and ruled safe for the node administrator, and/or more endpoint encryption protocols are standardized for more connection types -- and progress in that field has been absolutely glacial.

Well, you really only downloaded every 15th bit directly. The rest came in via someone else. :p
 

lcpiper

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Still this guy is going to be hurting putting out all that money for a lawyer. This proabably going to be appealed over and over.

Nope, I don't think it will. I think it will stand. These multimedia outfits liked the simple IP address thing because it was simple and it was easy and usually effective. Not many are able to fight such a thing, not without help.

I bet some "org" backed his court case.
 

BloodDonor

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Dec 5, 2009
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Well, at least they realized it at all.


The RIAA/MPAA spent about $1m helping write and lobby for a new Copyright law in NZ... part of it was that the person paying for the internet connection is liable... also a correctly filled out infringement complaint is considered evidence of infringement (so if someone accused YOU of yesterday downloading Justin Beibers latest album, (assuming you didnt), how does the average user prove that you didnt.... yep.... you dont
 
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