[Once again the MPAA and the RIAA are up to their dirty tricks of trying to block downloading of music and videos to students at universities by attempting to restrict funding to universities unless the institutions agree to alternatives such as paying monthly subscription fees to the music and motion picture industry.
One possible solution is for the universities and Educause to call the MPAA and RIAA's bluff and take the high road by instituting "bits for carbon" trading programs at their respective institutions.
Universities could offer voluntary programs where students pay a premium on anything that creates a carbon footprint such as parking fees or residence power consumption etc. In exchange the students would be granted free access to the music and film industry libraries. As well, part of the "bits for carbon" fee would be used by the university, working in partnership with the national research and education networks to set up an extreme high speed bandwidth connection to distributed content servers to enable fast download of the RIAA and MPAA approved content.
The "bits for carbon" fee would encourage students to reduce use of their automobiles and/or reduce their energy consumption within their residences or other activities. The university could also undertake energy audits on the students activities to earn additional valuable carbon credits, in the same businesses now earn carbon credits for promoting tele-working, tele-presence etc
But instead of paying the RIAA and MPAA actual money for the designated authorized music and video services, they instead would be paid in equivalent value of carbon credits. The music and motion picture could then possibly double down their money by instituting their own carbon reduction schemes and trade in these credits or they could sell them to a variety of carbon trading brokers. -- BSA]
[Note: This item expands on the call to action from EDUCAUSE that I
posted earlier. DLH]
Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else
By Declan McCullagh
Story last modified Fri Nov 09 18:19:33 PST 2007
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
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
"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."
The letter was signed by the chancellor of the University of Maryland
system, the president of Stanford University, the general counsel of
Yale University, and the president of Penn State.
They stress that the "higher education community recognizes the
seriousness of the problem of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing and
has long been committed to working with the entertainment industry to
find a workable solution to the problem." In addition, the letter says
that colleges and universities are responsible for "only a small
fraction of illegal file sharing."
The MPAA says the university presidents are overreacting. An MPAA
representative sent CNET News.com a list of campuses that have begun
filtering files transferred on their networks, including the
University of Florida (Red Lambda technology); the University of Utah
(network monitoring and Audible Magic); and Ohio's Wittenberg
University (Audible Magic).
For each school taking such steps, the MPAA says, copyright complaints
dramatically decreased, in some cases going from 50 a month to none.
The MPAA's Martinez did warn that the consequences of violating the
proposed rules would be stiff: "Because it is added to the current
reporting requirements that universities already have through the
Secretary of Education, it would have the same penalties for
noncompliance as any of the others requirements under current law."
Neither the Recording Industry Association of America nor the
Association of American Universities was available for comment on