After all those scary tales of people being fined gazillions of pounds for downloading music illegally, here’s a rather more enjoyable tale of how a judge threw the book at ACS:Law for threatening to take people to court without any intention of following through (it’s a juicy story, read it in the Guardian, here)
Along the way, the end of the story also provides the answer to a question I often get asked – can I be fined if someone manages to use my IP address to download something illegally? In other words, let’s say you have some friends to stay, they access your wi-fi with their laptop and download all kinds of illegal stuff and leave the next day. If the act is traced to your IP address, does this mean you can be fined?
Well, no – because as Guy Burkill QC writes in the Guardian today, “legal liability for copyright infringement rests on a person, not a computer. In order to successfully sue someone for copyright infringement, you need to find the person who did it, not just an IP address.”