In the US district court recently, a Florida judge has ruled that a IP address alone is not enough evidence of who had downloaded pirated movies. As the courts are swamped with lawsuits around the issue, this ruling comes as timely information for many people.
As there are hundreds of lawsuits across as many districts, the IP address of a user during download sessions has long been the most hard evidence argued by plaintiffs that a user was downloading movies. This new ruling however has changed the copyright field completely.
The judge’s ruling states that courts will no longer be able to issue a subpoena to Internet service providers to disclose who a IP address belongs to by name in their network. If it sticks, this new rule will change how information and cases are built in Florida and nationwide in the United States.
Logic behind this ruling states that in frequent public gathering spots that offer wireless internet in colleges, coffee shops or libraries, more than one visitor may be using the same outgoing IP address from a ISP.
A same situation can be argued from a friend stopping by another friend’s house and borrowing a Wi-Fi signal from them while visiting to download movies or even from a neighbor of the friend with unsecured wireless access points.
The judge stated “Due to the risk of ‘false positives,’ an allegation that an IP address is registered to an individual is not sufficient in and of itself to support a claim that the individual is guilty of infringement.”
With that statement comes the ruling that a IP address is not enough information to support a user identity on the world wide web. Will this ruling carry on nationwide in the US and will other courts around the world take notice?