Open Wireless Advocates to European Court: Don't Make Us Lock Down Our Networks

There’s a case here that would potentially wipe out open wireless and mesh networks in Europe, along with all the benefits they could bring, because rights-holders.

Open Wireless Advocates to European Court: Don’t Make Us Lock Down Our Networks

The application of this legal framework to open wireless networks has
come under challenge in the McFadden reference (C-484/14) concerning a
German shopkeeper whose free open wireless network was allegedly used to
infringe copyright. In the preliminary reference to the Court of
Justice of the European Union, the Europe’s highest court is asked
whether an enforcement practice requiring open wireless networks to be
locked is an acceptable one. Germany’s Federal Supreme Court in 2010
held that the private operator of a wireless network is obliged to use
password protection in order to prevent abuse by third parties. If the
CJEU affirms this finding, the effect could be to extend this bad
precedent throughout Europe, grounding the open wireless movement across
the continent. If on the other hand it rejects that finding, German law
could be forced to return to sanity, allowing thousands of hotspot
operators to open up their networks again.

The main question point in the case turns on whether locking of open
wireless networks would be a proportionate enforcement mechanism that
advances the public interest. The open letter, co-written with Martin Husovec,
Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet &
Society (CIS), points out that prohibiting open wireless networks
creates a serious obstacle to legitimate trade, that cannot be justified
by the limited potential benefits of locked-down networks to
rightsholders. The letter highlights exact instances of social benefits
that will be lost if locking of open wireless networks becomes a
standard. Holding wireless network operators anyhow accountable for
content that passes over their networks thus should be against European

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Its time for the global voiding of copyright or at least a reset voiding all prior copyright and a shrinking of the protection terms. Lets just get rid of intellectual property.


What if the “password” protected networks adopted a common password.

EG “open” or “password”

Would that satisfy the requirements of the law if it was made a requirement to lock wireless netoworks

That’s not the issue, which is that the owners of networks are being made liable for what traverses their network. So to avoid being sued for copyright violations, they are having to regulate access. Having a public password would not meet this requirement.

This seems to me to be a clear-cut freedom of speech issue.

If people come into a shop I own and transmit information that the State deems it illegal to transmit … then why am I held responsible? It makes no sense - laws like this are working to force the general public to police themselves for the benefit of a ‘few’ (the copyright holders). In this instance a small number of the public are sharing information that these ‘few’ don’t like, so we are all being told we have to shut up in order to stop the traffic of this information by a small number of people … .hence the freedoms of all are being curtailed so that these ‘few’ can benefit.

IMO, those few can stick it where the sun don’t shine. Laws like this must be disobeyed.


Much harder for them to stop something like SAFE running on LiFi free of ISPs running house to house and across car headlamps and tail lights. Where is central billing? How do they jam it? How do they track it?

oh - in germany it is not a problem to have an open wireless hotspot - there is a law coming soon :slight_smile: you are encouraged to open your wifi! you only have to encrypt it with a password and keep record of the people with access to this wifi :wink: (this is not a joke - they really say it like this in the paper)