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New TN Law Forces Universities To Patrol For Copyright Violations 331

CSMatt points with this excerpt from the EFF's page: "Last week, the RIAA celebrated the signing of a ridiculous new law in Tennessee that says: 'Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall: [...] [R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year.' While the entertainment industry failed to get 'hard' requirements for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress earlier this year, the RIAA succeeded in Tennessee (and is pushing in other states) with this provision that gives Big Content the ability to hold universities hostage through the use of infringement notices. Moreover, the new rules will cost Tennessee a pretty penny — in the cost review attached to the Tennessee bill, the state's Fiscal Review Committee estimates that the new obligations will initially cost the state a whopping $9.5 million for software, hardware, and personnel, with recurring annual costs of more than $1.5 million for personnel and maintenance."
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New TN Law Forces Universities To Patrol For Copyright Violations

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  • by Leebert ( 1694 ) * on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @09:56AM (#25800783)

    How is this surprising? The recording industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in Nashville.

  • Money "well" spent (Score:2, Insightful)

    by richien6 ( 1406455 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:02AM (#25800843) Homepage
    To be honest I can usually be a little uninformed about the RIAA and DRM and whatnot...
    But come fu*king on! Why the hell would you spend millions of dollars on protection like this?? That money could sure as hell be spent elsewhere, since not only could the rest of the world use it but also even the USA themselves...
  • by I_am_Rambi ( 536614 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:03AM (#25800849) Homepage
    "...if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998..."

    According to a recently lawsuit [] against the RIAA on the legality of their tactics, I would question if the notices are legally valid or not.
  • Copyleft (Score:1, Insightful)

    by wienerschnizzel ( 1409447 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:06AM (#25800879)
    Hopefully this will result in universities using more open source/copyleft stuff. Someone is shooting himself in the foot here.
  • Indie Music (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:08AM (#25800901) Homepage Journal

    Stop listening to garbage music that corporate America wants you to buy. Indie music is free and you can't be sued for downloading it freely, because it's offered as a promotional gimmick to sell concert tickets. Many Indie bands advocate people sharing purchased copies of their albums, because musicians know that this freely sharing of music creates more fans. Look at Radiohead... how much did they earn on that album they released as donor-ware?

    Sure you can apply all the regulations you want but you're just excluding people from your products in the long run.

  • Wishfull thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:09AM (#25800913)

    Sometimes I need some detachment from slashdot to be able to keep reading. I know it's stupid and insensitive and wrong on many levels but I have to say it.

    News like this give me the same feelings as horrible wars in third world countries. The more I learn the more revulsion I feel and it reaches a point where I simply detach and start thinking about something else. I transport myself to the little world around myself where those things simply don't happen.

    I know about the " they come after me and there's nobody else left to care." parable, but still, I need a beer and a quiet mind to deal with extreme evil, or, as in this case, with extreme idiocy/corruption.

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:13AM (#25800957)

    It seems that they're more interested in protecting the music industry than supporting the education of their people.

    Anyone want to predict what the outcome will be in about 20 years?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:16AM (#25800993)
    I'm the Network Admin for a large (albeit British) institution, and we have the responsibility for the content of our equipment. If it's on student equipment, it's not my problem, but I certainly won't allow a free-for-all on my network nor my servers. I'm not an idiot, I can tell when content is infringing copyright or not, and I'll deal with it.
  • Re:Valid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:17AM (#25801007)

    Really.... "reasonably attempt" and only if there are fifty or more "legally valid" notices...

    The kind of legislation made by lawyers to increase the amount of time they get to charge customers for litigation.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:20AM (#25801039) Homepage Journal

    If I were a university, I'd take this as my cue to disconnect the residential university network from the campus network and outsource the connectivity. The students would have to VPN in if they wanted access to campus services.

    This would probably be cheaper than complying with this law, and even if it weren't, it would send a message to the lawmakers to be mindful of the law of unintended consequences.

  • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:23AM (#25801067)
    Quite frankly those who will suffer from reduced education are not the people Tennessee is interested in having in its state, because they are in a much lower tax bracket than the artists and more importantly the executives...
  • Closed P2P (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:23AM (#25801069) Homepage Journal

    Another approach to fighting RIAA and MPAA would be to create a kind of digital fingerprint process that would allow Indie bands and film makers to freely release their stuff over a closed P2P utilizing user accounts. This type of thing has been attempted in the past with great failure, but it's possible that with the proper interest, a push to exclude greedy practices from infiltrating P2P networks would be essential.

    A theory of mine is that many record labels would want to release their stuff for free on P2P so that they can sue later and reap big rewards. That song used to generate $0.99 each, but after you seed it and nurture it, the windfall is $2500 for each song for each downloader.

    Tell me this isn't happening!!!!!!

  • by olddotter ( 638430 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:24AM (#25801073) Homepage
    This is just a hidden bail out of the music industry. They need a viable business model in the modern world.
  • Unjust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:25AM (#25801087)

    If they aren't receiving state funds, then the state has no business putting this mandate on private institutions. Then again, this country has a long, sordid history of things like "attractive nuisance laws" like the ones which make people who have pools in their yards put up all sorts of fences to keep kids out of their yard (rather than arresting the kids for trespassing).

  • by ElizabethGreene ( 1185405 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:28AM (#25801119)

    The timing and pricetag are rather surprising, considering the state's current 800 Million dollar projected budget shortfall.


  • Re:Thats too bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:29AM (#25801139)

    ...seems like the population doesn't get to participate in democracy anymore.

    The population has access to all the democratic participation that they can afford.

  • Re:Copyleft (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boarder8925 ( 714555 ) <> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:31AM (#25801173) Homepage

    Hopefully this will result in universities using more open source/copyleft stuff.

    Good luck with that.

  • by kmac06 ( 608921 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:34AM (#25801207)
    So which is cheaper for the universities, pay lawyers to get a judge to decide the notices as not valid, or just pay the extra employee(s) to police the campus in place of the RIAA? I'm guessing the latter.

    Of course the third (and most expensive) option is to pay off the legislators, as I'm sure the RIAA did.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:41AM (#25801285) Homepage Journal

    Wrong question.

    Right question: who in their right mind would want to steal music dumbed down to music industry specifications?

    Hank Williams Sr., Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, the Carters, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins -- the list goes on of worthwhile country musicians. The industry isn't run by creative people, it does its best to strangle of the life out of any kind of music it touches.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:45AM (#25801327)

    If I were the colleges, I would just farm out the student connections - thus removing my liability. Access to the local network would be via VPN.

  • by Alarindris ( 1253418 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:46AM (#25801331)

    Absolutely. Hell, Les Paul basically invented multi-track recording. He was decades ahead of his time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:50AM (#25801391)

    I just don't understand how you can see the two connected in ways that are detrimental to each other.

    They are both competing for time and resources. Money used for stopping illegal file sharing is money that won't be spent on education.

  • Tennessee? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:53AM (#25801427)

    At first I thought, "With the economy being what it is, I can't believe that a state would pass such an expensive statute." Then I remembered that Tennessee is the home of Nashville. So perhaps that is why the RIAA has so much pull there.

  • Strawman!

    The question you have to ask is WHY is file sharing illegal. To protect the recording industry's outdated business model.

    The enxt question is WHY is the population (because it is them through their taxes) asked to PAY for enforcing a law that makes them and their children criminals in order to line the pockets of music executives?

    Why is an university forced to limit the freedom (academic or otherwise) because the music industry decided it should?

  • by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:04AM (#25801559) Homepage
    It is not "free" , stop believing the lies. Every time you sit through a commercial you have "paid".
  • by chord.wav ( 599850 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:09AM (#25801611) Journal

    Stop buying music and movies. Yes that includes the ones in iTunes.
    No mattr how loud you complain, if you still are giving them your money, nothing will get solved.

    You have to be the change you want to see in the world - Ghandi

  • by jeffasselin ( 566598 ) <cormacolinde@gmai l . com> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:24AM (#25801797) Journal

    I was thinking the same thing, what does the DMCA have to do with file-sharing?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:25AM (#25801815)

    As a University of Tennessee employee, let me chime in my support in those regards.

    UT has had enough priority issues as it was before. They tried to do away with the Speech&Audiology department - one of the few programs for hearing impaired students in the South Eastern US.... and spent more than twice that programs budget renovating the stadium for a struggling football team.

    If my directors and superiors are any indication as to how this law will be implemented, the new measurement of how well the IT services are doing in the administrations eyes are how many students they successfully catch in a given month. Most people in positions of authority on campus have absolutely no technical experience (my boss required me to babysit him while he used a scanner to scan some family photos), and all of them are in a constant race to jockey for the favor and affection of whoever is above them.

  • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:36AM (#25801945) Journal
    You know, the blues started in the south, too. There is a club in downtown Nashville with B.B. King's name on it, and other genres get recorded there, too.
  • by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:50AM (#25802133)

    Country music is the most popular form of music in America according to Arbitron radio ratings.

    And McDonald's is the most popular restaurant. Which just proves the American people have no taste in either music or food...

  • You people keep asking the wrong questions.

    Why is it a law?

  • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:30PM (#25802815)

    How the US managed to pass a law that retroactively (and, therefore, unconstitutionally) extended copyright terms 10 years ago is beyond me, but it happened.

  • Re:Terrorism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:40PM (#25802993)

    Oh please. If the mafia came after you for file sharing, you would be begging for lawyers and political hijinks.

  • by einer ( 459199 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:33PM (#25804085) Journal

    Unless this law is struck down your uni will either do what the STATE wants or lose state support, perhaps accreditation, funding. This is a compliance issue now, not a "good luck" issue.

    The state is not responsible for accreditation. We are not a state institution and do not rely on the state for any funding. The contention is between the development of our alumni relations (donations) and spending money on enforcing another organizations business model. I would be shocked if we voluntarily spent money we didn't have on something that we don't need, when we could spend it on pan handling our well heeled alumni.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:51PM (#25804507) Journal

    McDonalds is popular because of consistancy and market penetration combined with geed marketing.

    Country Music is popular because it stretches across a broader range of influences. You have blues and bluegrass on one end and pop on the other with combination of everything in the middle. All the other forms of music is severely limited in ranges and style and attract more people because of the influences in the style then genre itself. Someone who listens to bluegrass will likely also listen to pop country too. Someone who listens to light rock will probably not listen to speed metal or death metal. To them, crossing to country is probably more appealing. Anyways, if you can't stand country, it is probably because you haven't heard enough songs across the range (IE, People like the Dixie chicks or kenney Chesney because they are closer to rock country or pop country but they don't like the yodeling works of Jimmie Rodgers. Here are a few pages [] talking about the differences in styles within [] the genres.

    Of course I sort of feel the same way as you expresses about rap music. But I have to admit, there are some rap songs that I can tollorate and actually like, I just can't stand the others long enough to buy those CDs or listen to the radio stations waiting for the songs.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:14PM (#25804975) Journal

    Strawman? What? I just asked if someone can explain the logic behind a statement. Since when if that a straw man? Ohh.. I get it now, the statement I was replying to is a strawman.

    The question you have to ask is WHY is file sharing illegal. To protect the recording industry's outdated business model.

    That actually has nothing to do with this law. There is a law that makes certain types of file sharing illegal and it need to be followed or changed. This law was passed on some sort of effort to make sure it was followed and if you object to it, you need to get it changed instead of asking why. Your personal validation has no weight in whether the law is invalid or not unless something like the constitution of the state or country is in conflict with it. If the law is there, deal with it. Otherwise, get the law changed.

    The enxt question is WHY is the population (because it is them through their taxes) asked to PAY for enforcing a law that makes them and their children criminals in order to line the pockets of music executives?

    Am I missing something here? Is there some abridged right to the music that the record companies are pimping out? Is it too much to ask the children of today to either not buy the cd or record them from the radio or something instead of stealing a CD, ripping it and giving it to all their friends? Actually, the population is not becoming criminals just to line the pockets of the Music or Record companies. They are becoming criminals because they are breaking the laws that give the copyright owners exclusive control over their content's distribution. I'm sure you wouldn't mind a law being enforced that stopped the guy bigger then you from walking into your room and taking your money whenever he wanted to. I'm sure you wouldn't mind the law being enforced that stops the neighbor from taking the tires off your car and selling them to someone else once a week. I'm sure you won't mind the law being enforced that stops drunk drivers from running red lights and crashing into your car and killing the passengers. But somehow, taking something that isn't yours and giving it to someone else is completely ok if the record labels are who you took it from and making people criminals for that is wrong.

    If it is law, it needs enforcement. If you don't like the law, get it changed. There is nothing in this law that effects the education of people under any sane interpretation of reasonable and the connections to students not learning just isn't there.

  • Actually Nashville has a very large Goth,Metal,Underground,and college pop scene. I spent a couple of years there and was quite surprised that it wasn't all shit kicking red necks. I guess being a long hair from AR I expected the usual complete hassle,and instead found a quite progressive music scene.

    That said,we all know this has NOTHING to do with artists or music. This is greed by middle managers,pure and simple. Nobody EVER asks the musician on the ground what they think,and no,asking Metallica sitting in their mansions what they think is NOT asking musicians on the ground,since so few will ever get to have the huge paychecks that they enjoy. Let us be honest here,copyrights are simply broken beyond repair. For those that think copyrights in their current form can be saved,well,I have said this before and I will say this again.

    For those of you that thinks copyrights aren't broken I simply have one sentence for you: Steamboat Willie is STILL under copyright. The man has been dead for half a century now,and his FIRST work,one made when cars started with a crank and antibiotics still hadn't been dreamed up yet,is STILL under copyright. I think that we can all agree that when copyrights last longer than most human lifetimes that the system is completely broken.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie