CAS Will Not Harm Public Wi-Fi

Blog Post | Jill Lesser

As CCI prepares for our launch, I want to address some inaccuracies that have recently been reported – specifically, the myth that public Wi-Fi hotspots will somehow be shut down by the CAS. This simply is not the case.

Public Wi-Fi is an important and oft-used way in which millions of people gain access to the Internet. Quite often this public Wi-Fi access is provided through a major coffee or restaurant chain, or at a public location like a park or transportation terminal, or even the public library. While copyright infringement using public Wi-Fi is no less permissible than over a residential connection, the accounts that will be included in the CAS are not the accounts that are used to provide public Wi-Fi and accusations that the CAS will end public Wi-Fi are false.

As outlined and agreed to in the CCI Memorandum of Understanding, residential Internet accounts are the focus of our program. The vast majority of businesses, including those like Starbucks that provide legitimate open Wi-Fi connections, will have an Internet connection that is tailored to a business operation and these business networks are not part of the CAS and will never be sent a Copyright Alert.

Depending on the type of Internet service they subscribe to, very small businesses like a home-office or a local real estate office may have an Internet connection that is similar from a network perspective to a residential connection. In those cases, customers are assigned Internet Protocol addresses from the same pool as residential customers. The practical result is that if an employee of the small business, or someone using an open Wi-Fi connection at the business, engages in infringing activity the primary account owner would receive Alerts. Nonetheless, these small business accounts would not be subject to disconnection under the CAS any more than a residential subscriber would – termination is not part of the CAS.

As we move forward, our goal continues to be implementing a successful education-based program that strives to help consumers learn about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, while providing tools and access to the content they want in a safe and legal way.