An English bar owner of a Wi-Fi hotspot offering free Internet to its customers has just been ordered to pay £ 8,000 (approx. € 8,800) because a consumer has downloaded illegal files.
A law professor at the University of Sheffield explains that, in theory, this kind of incident should not happen, since intellectual property laws do not allow this kind of procedure. However, this did not prevent the majors from winning their case before a civil court.
… To the harsh reality
The fine is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and reflects the legal vagueness surrounding public hotspots, and the latest bill to regulate Internet communications in that region does not seem to help matters.
Those who support this project say that hotspot owners would be exempt from prosecution in the event of illegal downloading by their customers, but critics point out that the procedure is unclear and the manager of the location of the point of access can be disconnected from the Internet and be the victim of legal proceedings before being able to prove that it is not responsible.
In practice, several experts have explained that the threats of lawsuits should quickly flood the British merchants who open their Internet connections to their customers and the fines may no longer be that exceptional.