If you’ve ever been to Germany, you know it’s more likely you’ll stumble upon the World Cup trophy somewhere along the way, than to find a Wi-Fi internet connection in a cafe or a hotel somewhere.
Germany has very strict rules regarding internet piracy and has, until recently, held the providers of the Wi-Fi network responsible for any illegal activity such as piracy conducted on the network.
Basically, you could go to a local café and download the entire internet, and the café would have to take the blame.
Obviously, this forced restaurants, hotels, cafes and others in the service industry to abandon the Wi-Fi altogether. Many would argue that’s no big deal, knowing how Germany is well-covered with mobile networks, but the country wants to be up to date with the latest trends, obviously.
That’s why it has introduced a new bill, which removes hotspot-operators’ liabilities for any wrongdoings of whoever uses the network.
“The amendment clarifies that these service providers can rely on the so-called liability privilege,” Die Bundesregierung writes in a report.
“It causes these service providers for violations are others not liable for damages and not be liable to prosecution. The liability privilege is an essential part of the European Directive on electronic commerce.”
However, don’t think this will turn Germany into a piracy-friendly country. Organisations whose main business is copyright infringement won’t be excused liability.
The new bill should, however, make things a little easier for travellers waiting for Europe’s mobile new low-price roaming regulations to kick in during 2017.