Continuing their non-stop campaign to ruin everything that is good in the world, the RIAA has now set open WiFi hotspots in their sights. They want to make anyone who runs an access point responsible for any activity that passes through it. That means that if you download a pirated song at a Starbucks, the RIAA can come in, guns blazing, and sue the pants off them. Oh yeah, that makes boatloads of sense, doesn't it?
While the RIAA is basically looking for an easier way to get money out of the parents of kids they sue by making them responsible for their kids' actions, the wide ranging repercussions of a mandate like this are sweeping and incredibly damaging. What would happen to Google's free WiFi project? We're on a path right now that's headed towards free Internet access in major metropolitan areas, which I don't think anyone could really complain about. But now the RIAA, with their huge budget and army of soul-eating lawyers, is shaping the future of the Internet, our Internet, so they can sue more people. You think Google will install free WiFi in New York or Chicago if it means opening themselves up to thousands of lawsuits?
How many more times does the RIAA have to blatantly slap privacy, free speech, and respect for the public and the law in the face before something is done about them? Every move they make puts them farther from an artists advocacy group (ha!) and closer to becoming America's largest and most established criminal organization. All they want is to strike fear into the hearts of everyone, and they don't care how many civil liberties they step on or how much innovation they squelch in the process. Are they going to have to sacrifice a human infant in order to increase Norah Jones's sagging album sales before people wake up and stop taking this shit from them? Something's gotta give.