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Archive for Sunday, November 18, 2007

Piracy bill targets college campuses

Congress calls for greater measures against illegal downloading

November 18, 2007

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On the street

Do you think universities should prohibit all peer-to-peer file sharing to stop illegal downloading?

No. I don’t believe that technology should be restricted based on what it could be used for. I think that’s short-sighted.

More responses

The U.S. House of Representatives wants universities to put a stop to illegal file sharing on their campuses.

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week would force Kansas University and other colleges across the country to block illegal downloading on their networks, and it would encourage them to provide legal alternatives.

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, introduced by Democratic Rep. George Miller of California, is one of many proposals to re-authorize the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Motion Picture Association of America issued a statement praising Miller's legislation shortly after he introduced it.

"(The legislation) will further the fight against piracy, a problem that costs our economy millions of dollars and Americans thousands of jobs each year," the MPAA said.

But spokesmen for KU and Baker University said that the legislation seemed like a law in search of a problem, forcing universities into actions they already take.

"It would be unnecessary, as we're already taking action to curb illegal downloading, specifically through our much tougher zero tolerance policy," KU's Todd Cohen said.

This year, KU beefed up its policy on people who were detected illegally downloading over the university's network. Anyone who is caught loses access to the campus Internet.

At Baker, the network's settings prevent file-downloading software from working without significant modification, spokesman Steve Rottinghaus said. The university has a three-step program with escalating consequences for illegal downloading.

Cohen pointed out that it's odd that Congress would establish a set of rules only for university Internet service providers.

"We already enforce the rules much more strongly than other Internet service providers," Cohen said.

Neither Cohen nor Rottinghaus knew of proposals within their universities to provide alternatives to illegal downloading, though the legislation would empower the Department of Education to provide grants to explore ways to prevent or replace illegal downloading.

In addition to the provisions on copyright, other amendments to the higher education act have drawn the ire of national university advocates. The National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges have sent a letter to House leaders expressing concerns with provisions in the law. One would create a higher education price watch list - keyed to percentage change rather than dollar change or total cost. The letter also was critical of the lack of focus on declining state funding.

Comments

compmd 6 years, 5 months ago

This is sick. Frankly, I believe that all the MPAA/RIAA goons can burn in h-e-double hockey sticks and should stay the foxtrot uniform charlie kilo out of schools.

"This year, KU beefed up its policy on people who were detected illegally downloading over the university's network. Anyone who is caught loses access to the campus Internet."

No, they knock you off if you have been accused. There is no burden placed on the MAFIAA to actually prove a student actually is in possession of the content they claim the student is distributing. All they do is send a letter saying "Little Johnny is sharing the following Britney Spears tracks" to a school, yet they provide no actual evidence of this. And the university knee jerk reaction is to pull the plug on the student.

"Cohen pointed out that it's odd that Congress would establish a set of rules only for university Internet service providers."

Unfortunately, I see the reasoning clearly. The MAFIAA rely on abuse of the law to torment and bully people into submitting to their demands. Every time they threaten people who actually have knowledge of the law and solid legal teams, they run into trouble. If you want to find extremely knowledgeable lawyers, where do you go? A law school. Where are many law schools? At universities. This is the exact reason why neither the RIAA nor MPAA has filed suit against a Harvard student. The resources of the Harvard Law School scare the heck out of them.

"Neither Cohen nor Rottinghaus knew of proposals within their universities to provide alternatives to illegal downloading, though the legislation would empower the Department of Education to provide grants to explore ways to prevent or replace illegal downloading."

Instead of spending money in the classroom, this will force universities to spend money with select businesses like Napster. Now, how do you feel about legislation that tells universities who they must spend their money with otherwise they risk losing their money?

If this actually goes through its a sad day for America, the land where corporate empires get to call the shots on what goes on in college campuses.

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