Skip to main content

Pretty fly for wi-fi (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Those who provide access to free wi-fi networks will be breathing a sigh of relief after the CJEU’s judgment this September that providers of such networks can benefit from protection under the E-Commerce Directive.

In a reference from the German national court the CJEU has considered the ambit of the injunction that might be imposed to prevent copyright infringement using a free wi-fi network such as those commonly now accessible in, amongst other places, cafes, shops and shopping centres. In this case, Sony took action in respect of music illegally downloaded over a Munich shop’s free connection. Could the wi-fi provider have primary liability for the acts of users of its wi-fi and, if so, what remedies could be sought against the provider?

No, says the CJEU, as long as the provider has not initiated the transmission complained of; has not selected the recipient of the transmission; and has not modified the transmission. In those circumstances, the provider will be an ‘intermediary’ and cannot be held liable for infringing activity carried out on the network and rights owners cannot claim for damages from the intermediary. However, the court held that an injunction ordering the network to be secured with a wi-fi password may be appropriate. Not only that, but the user could be required to reveal their identity as part of the log on process to ensure they could not act anonymously. The court gave a reminder that when considering the ambit of any injunction against an intermediary, the court must seek to balance the competing interests of rights owners, users and the business interests of providers of intermediary services.

Businesses providing free wi-fi will welcome the judgment, though they may wish to take proactive steps to secure their networks to avoid being the subject of any similar injunction themselves.

This article was first published in the Brands & IP newsnotes publication - issue 3

Related items

Related services

Brand owners gain another tool in the war against counterfeits (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Brand owners will welcome a ruling from the CJEU over the summer that an operator of a physical marketplace can be an ‘intermediary’ for the purposes of Article 11 of the IP Enforcement Directive.

IPO doesn’t see anything wrong with Specsavers’ trade mark (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Specsavers has managed to get its application to register “should’ve” (as in, “should’ve gone to Specsavers”) past the examination stage at the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Can you tell what it is yet? (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Those looking to register shapes as trade marks have had a tough time of it recently. Attempts to register the shape of a Kit Kat, various bottles and a toothbrush have all recently failed in the UK and EU.

Karen Millen - lessons from an SPA (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Karen Millen, founder of the Karen Millen fashion brand has lost a High Court challenge to use her own name for homeware in the US and China.

Pay to play (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Over the last few years, the Ministry of Justice has sought to fill the gap in its funding through repeated increases to court fees.

Pretty fly for wi-fi (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Those who provide access to free wi-fi networks will be breathing a sigh of relief after the CJEU’s judgment this September that providers of such networks can benefit from protection under the E-Commerce Directive.

And finally...Brexit (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

24 October 2016

Speculation about Brexit’s impact on intellectual property rights caused the UKIPO to release its guidance note “IP and Brexit: The Facts” in August.

Back To Top