There is a disturbing case out of England this week where a pub owner was fined £8,000 ($13,183) because someone unlawfully downloaded copyrighted material over its free Wi-Fi system. The fine against The Cloud Pub could spell trouble for free wi-fi access and should prompt legislators to look at the need for an intervention to protect this key public resource.
It is ridiculous to hold free wi-fi establishments liable for such acts by third parties. There is a need for society to balance the great benefit of free wi-fi against such infringement. Owners of copyrighted material will have to find other ways to protect their interests than shutting down free wi-fi systems.
However, the Parliament appears ready to make things worse with a new Digital Economy bill that would make such fines more common.