Copyright Infringement Advisor

Open WiFi Is NOT Negligence

Posted in Motion Practice, WiFi Negligence

I wanted to post a quick note about the new case recently filed by Daniel G. Ruggiero in Pennsylvania, as reported by DieTrollDie. [EDIT: Earlier I incorrectly identified the case] This case isn’t particularly noteworthy, except that the complaint includes a claim for negligence based on the subscriber having an unsecured WiFi network. The good news is that claim should die a quick and miserable death. Since my earlier post on open WiFi, there have been more cases concluding that open WiFi is not negligence. In fact, a negligence claim is preempted by federal law.

Below are a couple of the actual orders issued by judges who conclude open WiFi is NOT negligent. Threatening people with punishment under a theory that has been soundly rejected already, several times, just redoubles the extortion stigma that already exists with these cases.

Liberty Media Holdings v. Tabora, et al., NYSD (7/9/12)
Tabora Dismissal Order

AF Holdings v. Hatfield, et al., CAND (9/4/12)
Order Granting MOTD

Amaretto Ranch Breedables, LLC v. Ozimals, Inc., No. C 10-05696 (N.D. Cal. July 8, 2011)(tortious interference state claim premised on DMCA takedown notices preempted by Federal DMCA provision); see also Miller v. Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, No. 09-0919 (2d Cir. May 14, 2010)(tortious interference preempted by Copyright Act).