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Copyright Act Liability

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:07 pm
by superspeed
Apologies for the lengthy post, however I need advice on a situation involving the above act please.


If person A, infringed a copyright of anothers work via the internet and was using person B's internet connection, would person B fall foul of the secondary infringment sections of the Copyright Act?

In this case both A and B are adults. B is a parent, but not legally as such because A is over 18 however still lives with B. The parent (A) has knowledge of the connection being used, but would it be enough to suggest liability, as A doesnt know what its being used for?

I took a quick glance and saw its sections 22-26.

Would any of these apply, just because the bill payers internet is being used? The bill payer has no express knowledge nor is his personal computer being used, but another computer within the building that uses the same shared connection.

Are they providing means or apparatus (the connection) and if not, how would no knowledge be proven?

Thanks for any help in advance.

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:36 pm
by CopyrightAid
I believe it would only be an offense if they knowingly allowed the connection to be used for this purpose, (i.e. if there was some evidence that proved they knew of the illegal use and allowed it to continue).

The classic example of this is UK ISPs - they can't be reasonably expected to check every website hosted on their networks so have no liability if someone host infringing material without their knowledge. But.... once they have been notified of an infringement, they are liable if they allow the infringement to continue.

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:49 pm
by superspeed
Thanks i assume this is the same for the "reason to believe" part of the legislation as well as the "actual knowledge"?

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:15 pm
by AndyJ
Just to bring this question up to date, the situation at present is pretty much as CopyrightAid has said. But the Digital Economy Bill which is going through the House of Lords at the moment will radically alter the situation if it is passed as it stands. You may well have seen some mention in the press about three strikes and your internet connection will be cut. This would apply if you were the person who paid for the internet connection even though you were not the person who was responsible for any alleged copyright infringement, such as illegal file downloading/file sharing. There is considerable debate about whether this kind of sanction is fair and equitable, but at the very least, because you, as the connection customer, would have had to receive 2 warnings from your ISP that illegal downloading was alleged, you could not subsequently claim that you were not aware of the allegation(s). A similar situation would arise if a third person, unknown to you, was using your unsecured wireless internet connection to download material in this way. The onus would be on you to take reasonable steps to secure your connection against such activity.