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The Internet Your Rights Online

Proposed Bill in Tennessee Penalizes Schools for Allowing Piracy 129

An anonymous reader brings us an Ars Technica report about a proposed bill in Tennessee which would require state-funded universities to enforce anti-piracy standards. The universities would be forced to "track down and stop infringing activity" or risk losing their funding. The U.S. Congress requested last year that certain universities do this voluntarily. Quoting: "Efforts taken by universities thus far to deter and prevent piracy have had mixed results. The University of Utah, for instance, claims that it has reduced MPAA and RIAA complaints by 90 percent and saved $1.2 million in bandwidth costs by instituting anti-piracy filtering mechanisms. However, the school revealed that their filtering system hasn't been able to stop encrypted P2P traffic and noted that students will find ways to circumvent any system. The end result, some say, will be a costly arms race as students perpetually work to circumvent anti-piracy systems put in place by universities."
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Proposed Bill in Tennessee Penalizes Schools for Allowing Piracy

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  • Re:Ah Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:11PM (#22595126)
    Or they could stop offering internet connections for personal devices and instead only offer connection through university run/approved labs and computer centers. Control over what gets installed or run on such computers could be more strictly controlled. "Off-campus" housing could still provide access, but the University could more easily claim that its outside its authority. You might laugh, but the computer lab used to be the only place you could get connected; why might it not be possible to become so again? Likely, no not really. But still a grim possible approach.
  • by Shajenko42 ( 627901 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:13PM (#22595142)
    This reminds me of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

    Cliff notes: Slave owners couldn't track down slaves that made it to the North, so they made a law saying that federal marshals had to do it for them or face an enormous fine.

    Essentially, the same thing that the RIAA is trying to do with copyright infringers - force other people to do their policing for them.

    Of course we know what happened to the slave owners - they lost their legal right to own slaves entirely. Who knows how this will affect the RIAA's right to own copyrights.
  • Just little time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nbert ( 785663 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:18PM (#22595188) Homepage Journal
    ...until they'll realize that all the efforts the **AA has gone through will result in some people exchanging data on physical media. I'm amazed that they still believe everything will be fixed if the internet has been regulated beyond reason.

    There's a theory which says that all music produced up to now will fit on a single hdd within a decade. I'm certain that they will stop chasing universities the moment they'll realize that some people carry all music available in their purse ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:18PM (#22595190)
    How would piracy be defined? So because I have torrent downloading or a P2P network client transferring data I'm now a pirate?

    I think many Linux users who download ISOs from these sources would be quite turned off by the prospect of that label.
  • by themushroom ( 197365 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:22PM (#22595228) Homepage
    > The University of Utah, for instance, claims that it has reduced MPAA and RIAA complaints by 90 percent ...

    The number of MPAA and RIAA complaints directed toward grandmothers and elementary school students has also gone down without the use of filtering. Coincidence?

    That, and the U of U is in SLC so chances are the students can just walk over to the nearest temple and listen to a tabernacle choir for free. :-D
  • by ParadoxDruid ( 602583 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:29PM (#22595284) Homepage

    I can't remember where I first heard it, but the phrase, "The Internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it" seems applicable here.

  • by gambolt ( 1146363 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:30PM (#22595290)
    A guy I know who works in a Campus IT department has said that if bills like this pass they will have no choice but to contract dorm connectivity out to Comcast (and make students pay for it). Efforts to launch stuff like campus wide wifi would be dead in the water. It sounds like it would be the death of .edu, pretty much.

  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:32PM (#22595302)
    Enforcing the law is the job of the law enforcement system. No one else. If we're going to suddenly make it the responsibility of universities to ensure their students follow the law, then it's high time we fired our law enforcers... because what, then, are they doing, if not enforcing the law?
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @08:38PM (#22595380) Journal
    The reality is that the Internet, like a lot of new technologies throughout history, is going to destroy some businesses. The flintlock and cannon put the archer and spearman out to pasture. The car decimated the horsebreeding industry.

    New technologies will render some industries obsolete or unsustainable. RIAA and the MPAA had a good ride as they are currently structured. Well, it's more involved than that. They've spent decades screwing over artists, incautious investors and the taxman (read: the taxpayer). But the model they've used for all that time cannot be sustained in any age of digital reproduction and distribution. It's a dying game. Call it theft if you like, and it is, but the fact that it's so pervasive really tells us that the way intellectual property has been viewed for a couple of centuries is gone.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker