Friday, February 23, 2007

RIAA in your library's wi-fi?

Found this via boingboing & Wired Blogs...

...In the motion, the plaintiffs emphasize a key point: They want the judge to rule that the owner of an ISP account is responsible for all activity on that account, which could have a chilling effect on public wireless access and open hotspots. (The appeal also made the point that Foster should be held liable if she was aware of the infringement occuring via her account; in the case of someone with an open Wi-Fi network, that could constitute something as simple as experiencing traffic slowdowns.)

If the judge rules that we're each legally responsible for all of the traffic that comes through our ISP account, open, unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots would become a serious legal liability, the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who depend on their neighbors for Wi-Fi will be out of luck, while altruistic (or ignorant) folks who leave their wireless networks open could find themselves embroiled in an RIAA lawsuits even if they've never shared a single song in their lives....

If there is someone out there with legal experience -- give me a perspective on how this would/could impact libraries which provide free wi-fi.

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