As a man who’s currently writing this article on the public WiFi provided by my local coffee shop, I’m somewhat alarmed to hear that the UK may soon be erecting copyright standards so impossible to meet that it’d signal the end of public WiFi. The culprit? The Digital Economy Bill currently working its way through the legislature.
Here’s the issue: when an ISP subscriber illegally downloads a movie or song, the ISP can target that user specifically for penalties. But when someone illegially downloads something for a public cafe, then leaves, who’s at fault? According to the Digital Economy Bill, the cafe, which is a legal liability that’s simply too high for small businesses.
There’s no way for these small businesses to patrol their connections, making sure that nobody illegally downloads files. Simultaneously, if the law were to be altered so the cafe would be immune from prosecution, who’s to stop people from simply using public WiFi to skirt the law?
Tough nut to crack, UK.
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