backtop


Print 98 comment(s) - last by kotix.. on Nov 14 at 1:09 PM

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.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

What is the big deal?
By soxfan on 11/13/2007 7:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
Ok so part of this bill conditions the allocation of federal aid to a school on that school's willingness to dcomport with federal law. How is this a problem? It has long been held that the government may condition the allocation of federal funds in this way. As the most obvious example, the F1ederal Government conditions state roadway assistance/development dollars on the state setting the minimum drinking age at 21. A less obvious (or at least less well known example) is that the federal government at one point conditioned federal farmer's aid dollars on a farmer's willingness to not plant more than a certain amount of a given crop (essentially paying farmers to artificially restrict supply and prop up prices)

In the present case, the government is merely conditioning certain education dollars on a school's demonstration of cooperation with the RIAA, or in other words, the Federal Copyright laws. Absolutely nothing wrong with this from a legal standpoint. I'm not saying you have to like it, but there isn't much you can do about it except try to change the law.




"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki