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Innovation

RIAA says yes, Congress says probably, colleges say no

Representatives from the movie and media industries met with university officials in Washington on Tuesday to discuss the growing problem of piracy on college campuses.  While colleges have generally taken a hands-off approach, industry executives and lawmakers they are lobbying are pushing hard for major restrictions to file sharing on campus.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

Representatives from the movie and media industries met with university officials in Washington on Tuesday to discuss the growing problem of piracy on college campuses.  While colleges have generally taken a hands-off approach, industry executives and lawmakers they are lobbying are pushing hard for major restrictions to file sharing on campus.  According to a post yesterday on ars technica,

Universities are clear on their position: they do not see themselves as extensions of either the RIAA or the MPAA and are reluctant to get into the game of chasing down students and disciplining them at the behest of such organizations. Congress, however, is making it clear that they expect schools to do something, and the RIAA is waiting in the wings, promising to increase their use of pre-litigation letters.

The House Committee on Science and Technology recommended that technology be "the first line of defense," since laws alone will not be adequate to address the issue.  While some schools have found success with network monitoring tools, others are concerned that students, who are increasingly savvy and determined, will simply escalate their efforts to work around such technological solutions.  University of Chicago officials warned against an "arms race" between smart, well-equipped students and universities who devote an increasing number of resources to combating new file sharing technologies.

Congress may not leave much wiggle-room in all of this, however:

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) said that schools may have to adopt antipiracy technology "whether you like it or not" if the situation does not improve. "The Judiciary Committee is not going to be patient for very long," he warned.

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