Insidehighered.com, 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.