As of late, European countries are feeling the heat to deal with online piracy. Compaines such as Logistep, ASC:Law, and Peppermint Jam are continually harassing ISPs to turn over the IP addresses of suspected pirates.
But things may be changing. According to TorrentFreak, anti-piracy lawyers “say that since they logged a copyright infringement from a particular IP address, the bill payer is responsible. Now a court in Rome has decided that on the contrary, an IP address does not identify an infringer, only a particular connection.”
This ruling coincides with what many of us have been saying for a long time. If someone used my telephone to contact an illegal drug dealer, I’m not liable for his offense. The same, many people are arguing, should go for internet piracy. Just because I own the connection doesn’t mean I can be held accountable for everything that happens on it. Even if a smart computer user were to protect their wireless network with encryption, there are still ways to have their connection compromised. If an attacker really wants in to a network, there’s a very good change that they’ll find a way to access it. As TorrentFreak stated the ruling, “[t]he District Attorney and judge said that the mere ownership of a connection from where an infringement took place is not sufficient to establish the identity of an infringer or liability of a defendant, especially since other people could have committed the alleged infringement.”
It’s time for the rest of the lawyers around the world to realize what the court in Rome has realized—what the rest of us have realized. You need more proof than a logged IP address to sue someone (and use aggressive scare tactics to make them settle) for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nice work Rome!