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Piracy Education Government United States News Your Rights Online

Colleges Risk Losing Federal Funding If They Don't Fight Piracy 285

crimeandpunishment writes "The US government is making colleges and universities join in the fight against digital piracy by threatening to pull federal funding. Beginning this month, a provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires colleges to have plans to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on their networks. Colleges that don't do enough could lose their eligibility for federal student aid. 'Their options include taking steps to limit how much bandwidth can be consumed by peer-to-peer networking, monitoring traffic, using a commercial product to reduce or block illegal file sharing or "vigorously" responding to copyright infringement notices from copyright holders.'"
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Colleges Risk Losing Federal Funding If They Don't Fight Piracy

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  • First? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by toastar ( 573882 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:51PM (#32779416)

    This is bullshit

  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:52PM (#32779430) Journal

    All get together and agree to do nothing. Watch as the government doesn't withdraw federal funding for all schools.

  • by 24-bit Voxel ( 672674 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:58PM (#32779548) Journal

    Or more likely, another excuse to raise tuition again.

  • Do it from home? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Kaz Kylheku ( 1484 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:58PM (#32779554) Homepage

    You're going to school to study, presumably.

  • by TDoerner ( 1837740 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:02PM (#32779614)
    If you live in a dorm hundreds of miles from your parents, school is home.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:07PM (#32779686)

    Even better: hand them a bill. If a pirated song "costs" $300,000, bill them 1% for preventing this "theft".

  • Actually (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:07PM (#32779690)

    In all fairness, they only have to come up with a PLAN to combat piracy. There are no performance targets to meet as to whether or not the plan will actually DO anything. Just another lip service campaign.

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:12PM (#32779746) Homepage Journal

    Proper net neutrality regulation should essentially be:

    "An ISP may not prioritize or de-prioritize network traffic based upon either its source or its destination".

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:18PM (#32779818)

    why would they need net neutrality legislation?

    If done right any such legislation would have no such requirement but if they're intent on taking control they'll just stick it into some legislation on phone lines or at the back of something aimed at the postoffice but phrased broadly enough to give them control over the net and other forms of communcation as well.

    there's nothing wrong with actual net neutrality.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:22PM (#32779870) Homepage Journal

    I see college campuses spinning off dormitories to legally independent entities, and not allowing them on the wired campus Internet or allowing official hot-spots in the dorms to be on the campus network.

    Access to campus resources would be through VPN.

    Then if the campus network didn't "properly" follow the rules the college would be off the hook.

    The ultimate end-game of this strategy is to sell all dormitory buildings to private investors. No court in the land would hold colleges responsible if private building-owners who happened to offer building-wide network connectivity didn't follow rules that only apply to schools.

    Plan B is to yank campus communications entirely from dorms and treat them like apartments, making each dorm room or student contract with a 3rd party provider for such utilities if they want them.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:22PM (#32779884)

    Looking over this largely beneficial legislation, sponsored by all Democrats, it is shameful to see this turd hidden in the fine print of section 493. This is not an amendment slipped in at the last moment. This was by design from the beginning, so kudos to the Ds for upholding the tradition of congress being corporate tools.

    I am not surprised, but severely depressed that there is such a soulless and unethical disregard for the well being of this country by all of congress.

  • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:25PM (#32779940)
    That bill grants an organization (RIAA) the power to hold the entire nation hostage by denying the USA its entire supply of future skilled labor. Regardless of whether or not it's "legal", this is an act of military aggression against the USA and everyone involved in the creation of that bill, more specifically the rider attached, is a traitor and must face criminal charges.
  • by kenrblan ( 1388237 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:30PM (#32779998)
    By essentially requiring universities to perform the investigation, response, or protection against piracy, the RIAA and MPAA are receiving a government supplied subsidy. If a thief stole a diamond ring and passed it to a friend who resided in a college dorm, would the jeweler ask the University Housing department to handle the investigation? Shouldn't they be entitled to the same assistance from the federal government? From actual university work experience, the RIAA is a royal pain in the rear. They issue notices and expect the university to determine who broke the law. They expect this service without providing adequate information in many cases. Most universities don't have the human or budgetary resources to spare for this pointless endeavor. There should be a clause in the law to allow the colleges to bill the RIAA/MPAA for time spent on investigative services. At $100 per hour, they might decide it's not worth going after the kid who downloaded Britney Spears latest craptacular single to listen once and then delete it forever.
  • Re:hilarious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:38PM (#32780094)

    Rant Much?

    Regulation is also often used by large corporations to keep small businesses out of the marketplace and in this case large business is using regulations to force universities to become the net police.

    Large corporations love regulations, it keeps other players out of the game.

  • that is 100% true! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:50PM (#32780288) Homepage Journal


    because NO REGULATIONS IS FAR worse

    seriously, how stupid can you twatstains be?

    do you NOT see that NO regulations means corporations do anything they want?

    if you remove government power, can you not see that corporations take over the power vacuum?

    why the FUCK can't you see that!!!???

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:50PM (#32780290)

    All get together and agree to do nothing. Watch as the government doesn't withdraw federal funding for all schools.

    Watch as the schools turn off the P2P tap.

    You think the bloke who pays for the keg believes in free beer?

    The government doesn't have to cut funding to all schools. It only has to make examples of a few to demonstrate that it means business.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:54PM (#32780356) Homepage
    colleges can outsource student networks (dorm, cafeteria, etc...) to ISP's, and maintain their own in-house networks for things like computing projects, internet2, etc...cost savings and flipping the bird to RIAA controlled legislators is certain to be a win-win.
  • Re:Three Words: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:58PM (#32780410)

    Not Bloody Likely. Motivated students, and trust me they ARE motivated, are far more effective than the MAFIAA leaning on the government leaning on schools.

    The students may be motivated. But their tuition is subsidized - their school is subsidized - and the Bank of Mom and Dad is overdrawn - and its back to flipping burgers at McDonalds.

  • by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:06PM (#32780500) Homepage

    There is an easier alternative and one I would take if I were president of a college. Simply not provide students internet access. Let them get it on their own. If a student wants access to the internet in their dorm room, allow the local provider to wire it in. That will take care of this legislation because the network is no longer the college network.

  • Re:A better method (Score:3, Insightful)

    by remmons ( 601226 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:30PM (#32780754)
    While I don't have any statistics, I suspect that the percentage of traffic dedicated to file sharing on a college campus is quite high. The savings from a smaller internet pipe after file sharing is minimized could make the cost of adding such network hardware you speak of a good investment. Not to mention the time and effort that is saved from someone addressing all the mail from RIAA and MPAA notifying them of copyright infringement.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:34PM (#32780806)

    Limit bandwidth and use commercial software to cap per-student/per-workstation bandwidth to an amount equivalent to (at most) a fractional T1 (say 512K down 256K up), unless the student has any reason they need more bandwidth @ a workstation to pursue academic interests or personal needs, where they then agree to an additional TOU, and have a face to face discussion with a network administrator, to show they have a legitimate reason, and it's not just to share media files.

    If they want to download/upload something very large, at a quick rate, they will have to explain what they want to download that requires extroardinary bandwidth, how it will benefit the student (or the university), how often they will perform downloads, etc.

    If it's a one-time event they get some sort of temporary pass on the system (upgrade of their cap that automatically goes away in 24 hours).

    If it's not, their usage monitored, and exception revoked if they are deemed to have abused it, but they still have to go to some website and put in a code every 24 hours to "refresh" their exception.

    Then set a 'maximum level' as well even in that case (without a documented academic reason for more usage allowance, that specifies when and how the higher usage is needed).

    And require any student to have P2P software running on their computer while connected to the campus network fill out a form, first, and an affidavit promising not to intentionally participate in or facilitate any illegal activity.

    There are legitimate usages of P2P networks (for example, downloading software distributions). Downloading a Linux ISO should be able to be done occasionally (by the limited number of people who are interested).

    It's in university's best interests anyways, to control their networks, since it keeps the bandwidth available on their WAN to be used for legitimate academic purposes.

    Prevents wastage of money.

    And they don't really have to be the bad guys "searching for copyright offenders and suspending them" that way.

    Limiting bandwidth (using technology) is a fairly passive way of preventing using the internet to download/upload copyright DVDs.

    They might have to rethink this if WAN bandwidth ever gets a lot cheaper though

  • Re:First? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:34PM (#32780812) Homepage

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have" Gerald Ford. Aug 12, 1974

    Remember this next time people say "But the government should provide this, this and that...". Now I've personally never met the Devil, but I would imagine him as something a lot like a government.

  • by PagosaSam ( 884523 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:41PM (#32780870)
    This amends and extends the HEOA of 1965. This legislation has it's fingers and all aspects of grants and loans for Higher Ed.

    "Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Programs, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) to implement various general and non-loan provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) and other recently enacted legislation. These regulations are effective July 1, 2010."

    This is a small sample of the programs affected.

    Basically if your school won't play ball, they are dead. This is what they mean by "Big Government".

  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:05PM (#32781124) Journal

    Whether you watch 500GB of iTunes movies or 500GB of torrents, it's going to cost the uni about the same (yes, yes, small overhead). If they want to throttle Internet leisure activity by limiting consumption in a period of time, that's quite understandable. The problem appears when the school starts expressing a preference for your Internet leisure activity.

  • by Apple Acolyte ( 517892 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:51PM (#32781566)
    That would only work if the existing campus LAN could be adapted to work with independent ISPs, or if WIMAX were a reality.
  • by zenasprime ( 207132 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:08PM (#32781704) Homepage

    Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico each day, an entire ecology is dying, and these assholes are fucking worried that some moneyless students aren't buying enough Britney Spears.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:15PM (#32781782)

    There is zero collective will in the US to stand up against big government or big business if it requires any inconvenience or any effort beyond bitching around the water cooler. Once again the American government is using the peoples OWN money to control them.

    American citizens are the largest herd of bleating sheep in the world.

  • *sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CosaNostra Pizza Inc ( 1299163 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @09:46PM (#32782524)
    Don't blame the government. Blame the RIAA's and MPAA's lobbyists in Washington, who have the politicians in their back pockets.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:17PM (#32782974)
    Please educate yourself on what kind of law would be passed under the guise of "net neutrality". It's not that hard.
  • Re:First? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crazy Taco ( 1083423 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:39PM (#32783076)

    This is bullshit

    I tend to agree. Why is it the university's job to police this stuff when they are, for all intents and purposes, a general purpose ISP? Unless they are actually aiding and abetting piracy by running some kind of university sharing service, I really don't think policing all this is their job. I think this is just an example of the industry going after the entity with the deepest pockets rather than the person who is actually breaking the law. It's like going after the state highway department because a drug smuggler drove on the rode.

    The only time I think a university should be involved is taking down, say, a pirate bay type website that student sets up using free university web server space that they often provide. But even then, that should be done at the request of the copyright holder. They shouldn't constantly have to peruse thousands of student websites to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong. In short, go after the lawbreaker, not the network provider. If they can sue anyone just because their product is used improperly, then we'll have no networks and no roads.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @12:08AM (#32783176) Journal

    Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico each day, an entire ecology is dying, and these assholes are fucking worried that some moneyless students aren't buying enough Britney Spears.

    And yet, here you are, posting on Slashdot.

    I also noticed you didn't single out the pirates for spending their time downloading Britney Spears while an entire ecology is dying, which is interesting. At least the RIAA keeping afloat has positive effects on the economy. What have the pirates contributed in their time not spent stopping oil spills?

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain