Just because something comes from your IP address doesn’t necessarily mean you did it. It could have been a colleague borrowing your computer, or a janitor using it after hours. It could even have come from someone outside your office altogether, piggybacking on your Wi-Fi.
This self-evident fact has been acknowledged in a new decision by U.S. District Court judge Harold Baker, who ruled that the Canadian adult film company VPR Internationale can’t subpoena an ISP for personal information on its subscribers. “VPR ignores the fact that IP subscribers are not necessarily copyright infringers,” Judge Baker wrote in his decision. VPR had brought action against more than 1,000 “Does” identified only by IP addresses.
The decision may slow the torrent of copyright infringement lawsuits by copyright holders, aimed at individuals rather than companies, with the clear intention of scaring people out of piracy. But the judge also noted another recent case in which the feds arrested a couple and confiscated their computers, iPads and iPhones looking for child porn, only to discover that a neighbor using their Wi-Fi had been the real culprit. The message is clear: You should password-protect your connections, and make sure you have a separate network for visitors to use.
Read more at ZDNet.