Bill would free colleges to buy anti-piracy software

Installing anti-piracy on every computer on a large university network would cost upwards of $1 million. Bill would free federal dollars to pay for the installation.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Attacking the issue of illegal downloading on all fronts, one Congressman is proposing legislation to give grants to schools to install anti-piracy programs, reports Internet News.

Rep. Ric Keller of Florida introduced legislation recently which would allow schools to apply for federal grants to help purchase anti-piracy systems. The Curb Illegal Downloading on College Campuses Act of 2007 (H.R. 1689) would expand the rules on how Department of Education funds may be spent.

"Illegal downloading of music and movies on college campuses is harming their computer networks by consuming a huge amount of education-related bandwidth and exposing them to viruses," Keller said in a statement.

Keller's proposal is in response to pressure from the music industry to curb illegal copying that the industry claims is rampant. More than half of all college students still download music and movies illegally, according to the University of Richmond's Intellectual Property Institute.

The cost of of installing filtering technology is prohibitive of most colleges and universities. John Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, said that over $1 million would be needed initially, with annual licensing fees of approximately $250,000.

"Such costs represent a serious financial challenge for colleges and universities, particularly at a time when we are trying to address the issue of rising costs of attendance for students," Vaughn said.
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