More anti-file-sharing rhetoric in Washington

More anti-file-sharing rhetoric in Washington

Summary:, among several other sites, is reporting on Senator Harry Reid's latest proposal to prevent illegal file-sharing on college campuses.

TOPICS: Tech Industry
10, among several other sites, is reporting on Senator Harry Reid's latest proposal to prevent illegal file-sharing on college campuses. The article lists the main components of his plan that he is including as an amendment to the Higher Education Act:

The Reid plan would require colleges to:

* Report annually to the U.S. Education Department on policies related to illegal downloading. * Review their procedures to be sure that they are effective. * “Provide evidence” to the Education Department that they have “developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property.”

The measure would also require the education secretary to annually identify the 25 colleges and universities that have in the previous year received the most notices of copyright violations using institutional technology networks.

Not surprisingly, while well-intentioned (or well-planned by lobbyists for the RIAA and MPAA), the new rules that tie into university funding and federal financial aid do not take into account the immaturity of most technical solutions for preventing illegal file sharing, the legitimate uses of file sharing, the financial burden of implementing such solutions, or the problem of file sharing outside universities (whether at the K-12 level or completely outside academia). We'll see how this plays out in Congress in the next few days, but it looks as though this issue certainly isn't going away anytime soon.

Topic: Tech Industry

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Funding

    I don't suppose that this bill contains funding that will not result in other activities, ie: education, being cut during the process of trying to convert colleges and universities to selective law enforcement agencies?
  • Do they know who has control?

    I find it so funny when people talk about the internet like it is something that can be has no off is the new world order.

    The programmers and hackers and the people of the world control the net.

    You can shut down whatever programs you want, you can haul people into court, you can make all the laws you see fit...BUT, we will just change the rules on you, we will create new ways to share or talk, we will control every aspect and there is nothing that you can do....there is no off switch, we are live.

    Everyday there is more music downloaded, yet you act like some law will change that.

    Most people I know don't even use P2P or bit torrant, there are 3 new ways of getting music that I have never seen anyone talk about...those things will probably be hot next year when they find out about it....but by then we will be using something else.

    It is fun to watch though....
  • Ban Linux on campus?

    With the hostility to DRM and other content protections often expressed by open source advocates, the content industry appears to be mistrustful of the software handlers' sincerity in complying with all laws and rules about protecting rights.

    The confrontation hasn't become severe yet, of course, but if the open source side remains as consistent as the content companies, then open source may be considered an invitation to IP theft. By Congress, on the advice of a major industry or two.

    So there's a possibility that Federal money could be denied to educational institutions making use of open source. And if that possibility becomes more definite, cautious institutions may try to avoid present or future problems.

    Not a prediction. But an easy-to-see possibility.
    Anton Philidor
    • Another subtle attempt?

      To force Linux into the clutches of the
      RIAA/MPAA because Microsoft is
      playing "footsie" with them?
      Ole Man
    • Let's ban tape recorders too!

      Oh wait, this isn't the seventies.

      I'm unclear on where being against systems which penalise honest consumers while doing nothing to prevent piracy is related to condoning IP theft. I suppose in your little fantasy world DRM works and is never inconvenient for the paying customer.

      NEWSFLASH: BluRay has already been hacked, device revocation has been hacked, DRM is inherently flawed because the playback device always has all the keys.

      In the meantime, people get booted off the XBox Live network when they've not even touched their firmware, Windows refuses to work on legitimate installs, HDCP dumps even more cost on the consumer for a strategy which has already failed.

      So remember kids, home taping is killing the music industry.
  • I have not checked, but........

    Five'll get you ten this idiot rhetoric is a
    direct result of bribery (lobbying) by the
    RIAA/MPAA and/or Microsoft.

    Congressman Who Took Money From RIAA/MPAA
    Says Congress Should Cut Funding To Colleges

    Microsoft Antitrust Case:
    An Update on the Company's
    Lobbying and Campaign Contributions
    Ole Man
  • Depressed

    This is so stupid on all sides and such an insult to government and industry I suspect the party involved has lost sight of shore. As an American I must say something. Torture murder rape are now the highest functions of government. More citizens are incarcerated for less longer and the people that have to pay more and more for less are happy while the worst sort of activity is considered a no brainer. I guess its elections that drive the consideration of stupidity. I just hope the politicians follow their personal self interest and the interest of the nation and take the money and never deliver.
  • Charge a fee

    Duh! Campuses should be ENCOURAGED to share files. Simply implement a watermarking technology (plenty NOW available) and tack it on to tuition. When a song gets shared, something like ten cents goes to ASCAP or wherever, just like radio. Jesus, people. Don't kill customer desire. Embrace it. And charge accordingly.
  • These People

    Democrats have demonstrated their computer acumen by buying elections software from Republicans and wondering why Democrats suddenly started losing elections.
    If they misjudge the possibilities of software as applied to elections, why would anyone be surprised that Democratic politicians cannot figure out the implications of how Intellectual Property might be used by corporations against voters?
  • P2P & "control"

    I've never used P2P and probably never will. However, I wholeheartedly condemn the "controllers" who want to keep the technology from the public. IMO the entire fracas is a few hard-core big business/government types who want to CONTROL everything the individual does so they can continue to make millions of dollars on the backs of the average citizens. I think the internet has them running terrified because they can't keep ordinary folks controlled in the dark any longer the way they have been accustomed to doing all these years. I say, "Power to the People!" and screw the politicians, moguls, and bureaucrats! Its about time.