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Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else
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Written by Daniel   
Sunday, 11 November 2007 09:33

 Big Brother isn't a political party, it's the bottom line.

 Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else
By Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: November 9, 2007, 5:41 PM PST
 
New federal legislation says universities must agree to provide not just deterrents but also "alternatives" to peer-to-peer piracy, such as paying monthly subscription fees to the music industry for their students, on penalty of losing all financial aid for their students.

The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student.



The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) applauded the proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page spending and financial aid bill. "We very much support the language in the bill, which requires universities to provide evidence that they have a plan for implementing a technology to address illegal file sharing," said Angela Martinez, a spokeswoman for the MPAA.

According to the bill, if universities did not agree to test "technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity," all of their students--even ones who don't own a computer--would lose federal financial aid.

The prospect of losing a combined total of nearly $100 billion a year in federal financial aid, coupled with the possibility of overzealous copyright-bots limiting the sharing of legitimate content, has alarmed university officials.

"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," a letter from university officials to Congress written on Wednesday said. "Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal."... More    Comment in the Forums
 
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