Some background first:
When I was in college for engineering, the student-run IT department in the general dorm absolutely insisted on seeing every device on the network, and all the traffic too, to the point of banning even "dumb switches" (which are still smart enough to figure out which port a specific device is connected to, and only send its traffic to that port) and issuing hubs instead (which blindly broadcast everything they receive to all of their ports, so that the IT guys could see what I sent to my networked printer).
This was when Windows XP was current, which allowed unrestricted access to its Public folders by default. (they are PUBLIC, after all, right?)
Put that together, and we have a bunch of college kids with officially-mandated direct access to the other students' Public folders! (there are several things in that bold part, that the combination of should raise flags)
Also at that time, the Public folders were the default save location for a number of things. So quite a few of them had what appeared to me to be extensive music collections, which leads to:
I decided to be honest, and NOT copy that music for myself, but if I had, who would have been guilty of what?
My understanding of copyright law suggests that:
The student that I copied from would be guilty of unauthorized distribution, and could be fined accordingly, despite knowing nothing of what was going on or even how it was possible, simply because it was in their Public folder and thus made freely available to others. Nevermind that "Public" was simply their software's default save location, and they again knew nothing of the ramifications. Thus, this poor student gets slammed, completely out-of-the-blue, for something they had no idea about.
The developer/owner of that music-management software may also get sued for making it easy for this to happen. (Public by default)
The dorm's IT department might get a not-so-nice call as well, from a high-powered lawyer, about making it easy for this to happen. (requiring access)
*I* could simply claim ignorance, that the officially-enforced arrangement implied permission, and that I had accepted the offer on good faith. I would then get off with little more than an order to delete everything that I had taken. (and whatever the IT guys decided to do with me for their troubles) Unless of course I had distributed it myself, knowingly or not, in which case I'd be in the same boat as the student that I had stolen it from.
Is that true? Did I put the concepts together correctly? Or am I all wet?