superglaze and several other readers noted a piece up on ZDNet.co.uk reporting that last summer a pub in the UK was fined £8,000 after a customer downloaded copyrighted material on its Wi-Fi connection. According to the article, whose source was the Wi-Fi hotspot provider, it was a civil action and the pub was not identified because its owner had not given permission to release the details. Techdirt is skeptical as to whether or not the reported fine happened, given the sketchiness surrounding the details. If true, the ruling seems baffling to UK legal experts, according to ZDNet: "Internet law professor Lilian Edwards, of Sheffield Law School, told ZDNet that companies that operate a public Wi-Fi hotspot should 'not be responsible in theory' for users' illegal downloads under 'existing substantive copyright law.'" In a follow-up article, Prof. Edwards cautions that such hotspot operators should "watch out for the pile of copyright infringement warnings coming your way."
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