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Universities that don't, or won't, comply with copyright takedowns could risk losing government funding

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act (PDF) is a monster of a document, weighing in at 747 pages. The bill aims to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965, and buried deep inside is a nasty secret sponsored by the entertainment industry: universities would be required to help fight piracy or risk the loss of federal funding.

One section of COAA would force universities to publicly disclose their policies and procedures relating to copyright enforcement, and to develop plans for exploring “technology-based deterrents” and alternatives -- like Napster or the ad-supported Ruckus service. These requirements would be backed up with federal grant money, which would be authorized for the purchase and implementation of whatever programs a university may try to implement.

Another section of the bill is more familiar, as it bears a striking similarity to some additions attempted in the Higher Education Amendments of 2007. Under the new text, universities would be required to annually inform students of the “civil and criminal liabilities” of file sharing, provide a summary of the consequences for violating copyright laws, and provide a description of the university’s disciplinary policies if they’re caught.

Universities would also be required to tell students about the various countermeasures they may use to “prevent and detect” unauthorized file sharing.

University officials have been understandably alarmed, as the above provisions would put a potential $100 billion each year in federal aid at risk; failure to comply would cause the school to lose all of its financial aid for students, affecting even those students who don’t own a personal computer.

In a letter written on Wednesday and signed by the presidents of Stanford University and Penn State, and the chancellor of the University of Maryland system, university officials wrote:

Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid--including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy … lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal.

Officials also noted that while the higher education systems does indeed recognize the “seriousness of the problem of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing,” it noted that schools and universities represented only a “small fraction” of the overall P2P ecosystem.

University leadership is overreacting, said the MPAA, and noted that schools that actively implement P2P counter-measures see far fewer copyright complaints — sometimes as little as zero per month.



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RE: I love deceptive legislation names
By fk49 on 11/12/2007 4:53:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
and anyone other than a non-white male also applies with identical grades, scores and similar background, guess who gets in?


Just wanted to add that if the white male is up against any Asian American, whether from Eastern Asia, Southern Asia or Indian-subcontinent, the white male will get in. If being white is a neutral factor in decisions, being Asian seems to be a negative. It's making my life tough as I'm applying to colleges right now..


By clovell on 11/12/2007 5:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Some of that has to do with the particular program you're applying for. Lots of unviersities try to fill some sort of racial quota to be diverse. As such, competition for admittance is stratified across race - which for fields like say, mathematics, can raise the bar for Asian applicants far above that for white applicants.


By mindless1 on 11/12/2007 6:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
You have it backwards.


RE: I love deceptive legislation names
By Exodus220 on 11/12/2007 6:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
You would have to supply me with factual evidence that supports your idea that it is more difficult for Asians to get into college before I would consider this an intelligent statement. Currently I just hear somebody crying about their ethnicity...and I hate hearing ethnicities always complaining their problems on the white man - just pathetic.

In many places the Affirmative Action plan is unconstitutional (California did away with it recently) because it discriminates against whites and in certain situations made it more difficult for them (Caucasian) to be hired or admitted.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 11/12/2007 6:37:14 PM , Rating: 3
Works that way here in the DC area, females and minorities are given first shot at hired positions with many companies. When I apply I better be able to rock my competition by a mile or I won't get it.


By Ringold on 11/12/2007 7:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
Your experience manages to be the polar opposite of every asian friend I had going in to college, not just in admission but in financial aid.

I think you might be doing something wrong, bud, if equivalent white males are beating you. It's a fact; non-white males get extra points at most universities in the rubric used to sort those who are accepted from those who are not.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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