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Senate Passes Bill Targeting College Piracy 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the since-colleges-don't-have-anything-better-to-do dept.
An anonymous reader brings news that the College Opportunity and Affordability Act has passed in the US Senate and now awaits only the President's signature before becoming law. Hidden away in the lengthy bill are sections which tie college funding to "offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity." The EFF issued a statement expressing concern over the bill earlier this year, shortly before the House of Representatives approved it. We discussed the introduction of the bill last November. The Senate vote was 83-8, with 9 not voting. The full text of the bill is available. The relevant section is 494, at the end of the general provisions.
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Senate Passes Bill Targeting College Piracy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:17AM (#24446603)

    College piracy really is getting out of hand these days. I just graduate college recently, and it's ridiculous how easy and casual it is.

    Copyright infringement is illegal and costs companies money. As a legitimate consumer, I feel duped when others are trading around something I paid good money far.

    I'm all in favor of trying to prevent and deter this unlawful activity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Celarnor (835542)
      So the solution is to pass on the cost to everyone else rather than deal with the problematic element until the copyright system can be fixed?
    • by mikael (484) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @09:38AM (#24446997)

      On a department UNIX system, just look in each users home directory for the file:

      ".windows_settings/My Documents/My Music"

      Those Windows auto-rippers will put everything there for everyone else to download...

    • No it isn't. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @10:03AM (#24447155) Homepage
      The small business I work for provides short term student accommodation (universities here in Belgium don't have dorms like in the States, private companies or student associations organize housing). In one of our residences, 20 students in downloaded 1.2 terabytes in the month of July. The volume causes all kinds of trouble for me as the IT guy because our ISP is perpetually threatening to cut us off if we don't upgrade to $superExpensivePlanOfTheMonth. We all know here that the overwhelming majority of this traffic is p2p.

      In other words, I am very sensitive to anti-piracy arguments because I have felt the pain of dealing with it. I have toyed with the idea of putting some sort of traffic shaping technology between the students and the net or limiting their access, but ultimately I have decided to put up with the headache.

      This is why: Students need freedom to grow, even if they abuse it at times (or even most of the time). If I implement traffic shaping or limit bandwidth, that one CS student who uses bittorrent to distribute his project will be screwed out of an education, and the world might be screwed out of a really cool innovation. That one aspiring film maker won't be able to distribute the movie that will make her famous and change the world of art. Sooner or later all of those students will be paying for their own bandwidth and they will learn the lesson about how their abuse is hurting the rest of us, but never again in their lives will they have the opportunities to create and learn that they have now, and unfettered access to the net is part of that.

      I cannot imagine any kind of traffic control that will not pose these kinds of problems. If we allow schools to shape bandwidth, the quality of the education they offer will suffer. I hope that US universities stand up for what is right on this one.
      • by Nazlfrag (1035012)

        You're spot on. Downloading and P2P are not illegal, copyright infringement is. Throttling downloads or P2P is the wrong answer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Downloading and P2P are not illegal, copyright infringement is.

          And even then, copyright infringement is only illegal, it's not actually wrong.

          Copyright is theft. If you don't want something copied, don't fucking release it in the first place.

      • I admire your integrity on this matter, and you're absolutely right about protecting the freedom for legitimate growth. Killing P2P because of music sharing is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

        At the same time, clearly there is a problem with illegal sharing via P2P, in that most use of P2P is surely for that purpose. That is unfair both on you as the sysadmin and on those students who do want to use the service legitimately but may find the available bandwidth limited because of what others are us

      • Re:No it isn't. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2008 @02:08PM (#24449315)

        1.2TB of traffic in a month for 20 people? Your ISP thinks that kind of bandwidth usage is a problem? That comes out to about 23 KB/s per person. You can easily hit those values with a few active users playing games or watching videos without ever touching p2p. If an ISP can't handle that amount of traffic on their network, then they need to upgrade their network.

        How can you sell "high-speed" connections when you punish or threaten your users for using what equates to little more than dialup speeds? Pathetic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gerf (532474)

      When my brother was in college (late '80s), BMG would run the "12 CDs for the price of 1" deal constantly across college campuses (plus 3 more for signing up someone else). They knew that the kids didn't have the money to pay full price, and that they could start them using their CD distribution model for the rest of their lives. Even for a college kid, CDs for less than $2 each is bearable. I doubt however that in this day and age they'd want to bother with lugging 100 plastic discs around, but that's n

    • I work for a small community college, about 800 Full time students, a couple thousand part time. We have open wireless, and computers all over that students can use. I have had a problem with maybe 5-8 of them using limewire or bittorrent and swamping our connection. (we're more worried about connection use, the content is their issue.) Most of them have stopped when we ask them too. A few of them were explaining that they were trying to DL Linux ISO's, so we pointed them to a mirror that is at another

      • by Gazzonyx (982402)
        Have you looked in to Ruckus [ruckus.com]. It's DRM'ed and only runs on windows media player, but it's free for students with an .edu email account if the school signs up for it. Our technet at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, has a huge banner on their home page saying something to the effect of "stop infesting the campus with your MP3s from torrents, we've signed you up for free music from this service". It seems to be working somewhat. Basically, Ruckus puts a skin on WMP and shows little adds in the bottom of
        • by PitaBred (632671)

          ..."infesting from torrents"? I'd be more worried about the bullshit that they do to the DRM. Those schemes have had a much worse track record than any media I have ever downloaded via bittorrent. Not to mention it locks me out because I don't use Windows, and requires the university to take part. Sounds limiting and stupid to me.

          Besides, looking at their site, their most played list contains 7 Coldplay songs, of 9 total. It looks like most of their music is not A-list, so it's not going to be useful f

    • by berashith (222128)

      that is fine , but are you willing to force colleges to become the police?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      Im a tax payer and I feel duped having my tax dollars go to private corporations.

    • by grolaw (670747)

      I just graduate college recently....

      Well, you failed simple English subject-verb agreement in the quote. Perhaps you are a plant from the RIAA?

  • by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:18AM (#24446609)

    Hidden away in the lengthy bill are sections which tie college funding to "offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity."

    I haven't read the bill yet, but that sounds like an attempt to force colleges into hostile partnerships with MPAA/RIAA agencies/affiliates. If that is the case, then I urge the colleges to satisfy the requirement of "offering alternatives" by partnering exclusively with indie, creative-commons, and public domain distributors.

    BTW - why in the world do colleges need to be involved in "offering alternatives" when there are dozens of well known websites already offering alternatives. iTunes anyone? Rhapsody? eMusic? If people aren't using these already what makes anyone thing that a college offering the same will suddenly be more successful? It is no business of a college, which people pay to attend, to be factoring into their cost model marketing and/or service costs of music/movie distribution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DigitAl56K (805623) *

      Sorry to reply to myself, but I wanted to add one other point:

      "offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property

      Specifically relating to movies, what alternatives is a college to offer for zero-day releases, screeners, and so forth? I'd love to know what the MPAA has up its sleeve there..

      • I propose that anytime somebody splits an Informative, Insightful, or Interesting comment into two pieces, we mod the second one to hell using "Overrated". Since the poster is getting +10 instead of +5, that is probably the only case in which we might actually be able to objectively say a post has been Overrated.

        That being said, I think as part of the requirement to offer an alternative to the illegal download, there should be a requirement to actually produce an equitable alternative. If no alternative exi

    • by Animaether (411575) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:41AM (#24446709) Journal

      "I urge the colleges to satisfy the requirement of "offering alternatives" by partnering exclusively with indie, creative-commons, and public domain distributors."
      Which would not stop students from downloading works that the MPAA governs at the same time.

      "BTW - why in the world do colleges need to be involved in "offering alternatives" when there are dozens of well known websites already offering alternatives. iTunes anyone? Rhapsody? eMusic?"
      Because, according to the EFF themselves:
      "The recording industry is already willing to offer unlimited downloads with subscription plans for $10 to $15 per month through services such as Napster and Rhapsody. But these services have been a failure on campuses, for a number of reasons, including these: They don't work with the iPod, they cause downloaded music to "expire" after students leave the school, and they don't include all the music students want." - Fred von Lohmann, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/05/AR2007060501761.html [washingtonpost.com]

      "If people aren't using these already what makes anyone thing that a college offering the same will suddenly be more successful?"
      Because if they had a local library then students could access the library off of their campus, instead of having to download over the internet. They wouldn't have to worry about trojans, or whether the music file would even play on their player, etc. The aforementioned may make it seem like I think students are stupid - perhaps, because the Washington Post thinks university system administrators are stupid; some gems:
      "Unless a school using the tool has firewalls on the borders of its network designed to block unsolicited Internet traffic -- and a great many universities do not"
      "The toolkit allows an administrator to require a username and password for access to the Web server. The problem is that the person responsible for running the toolkit is never prompted to create a username and password."

      And at least Dave Taylor at the U of P agrees: "even with a firewall keeping non-university students from accessing the toolkit's Web server, any student on the network armed with the Internet address of the Web server could view all of the traffic on his or her segment of the network, said Penn's Dave Taylor."
      - http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2007/11/mpaa_university_toolkit_opens_1.html [washingtonpost.com]

      "It is no business of a college, which people pay to attend, to be factoring into their cost model marketing and/or service costs of music/movie distribution."
      Apparently it is. Quoth that EFF dude again:
      "Universities already pay blanket fees so that student a cappella groups can perform on campus, and they also pay for cable TV subscriptions and site licenses for software."

      Moreover, the EFF dude thinks that's an excellent thing to apply to music downloads as well:
      "By the same token, they could collect a reasonable amount from their students for "all you can eat" downloading." - Fred von Lohmann, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/05/AR2007060501761.html [washingtonpost.com]

      • by Enleth (947766)

        Apparently it is. Quoth that EFF dude again:
        "Universities already pay blanket fees so that student a cappella groups can perform on campus, [...]"

        Er, what? I'm not questioning what you said, as you're just citing, but I'm interested in an explanation. What the heck has performing on a campus to do with the university paying someone - and WHO do they pay? If the students are performing as a part of their own initiative, they can do that whereever they please, on the campus, on the top of Mt. Everest, on the lawn in front of the White House or just anywhere else except when it's explicitly forbidden by the landowner. Even if they're performing copyrigh

        • Even if they're performing copyrighted works (doing an artistic interpretation), just in this case they can't do that for profit without obtaining the rightowner's permission. So it looks someone is extorting money from the universities...

          Cite, please? In most jurisdictions, including the US as far as I'm aware, public performance is a protected right under copyright, and just because something is not for profit, that does not automatically qualify it as a fair use (or whatever your jurisdiction calls the equivalent exemption).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dun Malg (230075)

            Even if they're performing copyrighted works (doing an artistic interpretation), just in this case they can't do that for profit without obtaining the rightowner's permission. So it looks someone is extorting money from the universities...

            Cite, please? In most jurisdictions, including the US as far as I'm aware, public performance is a protected right under copyright, and just because something is not for profit, that does not automatically qualify it as a fair use (or whatever your jurisdiction calls the equivalent exemption).

            I think you missed his point. He didn't say it was legal for students to do this, but that perhaps it's not the university's job to police such things. Seriously, under what line of crazed reasoning does the university bear responsibility for three jackasses in the dorm stairwell singing "Dancing Queen"?

            • He didn't say it was legal for students to do this

              I've just reread his post, and it still reads like that's what he's saying to me!

              Seriously, under what line of crazed reasoning does the university bear responsibility for three jackasses in the dorm stairwell singing "Dancing Queen"?

              I would imagine it's not the random sing-alongs in the dorm stairwell that are covered by the licence, but rather the public performances.

              Some performance rights are normally acquired by the performers, others by the venue. I don't know the usual rules of the game in the US, but here in the UK it's normal for recorded music to be dealt with by the people playing it in public, but for venues to have a blanket licence for live pe

      • "I urge the colleges to satisfy the requirement of "offering alternatives" by partnering exclusively with indie, creative-commons, and public domain distributors."
        Which would not stop students from downloading works that the MPAA governs at the same time.

        Why should any college care about that? They are being forced to play police for the RIAA/MPAA in order to receive funding, which isn't likely to garner feelings of sympathy for the industry that's holding them hostage.

      • by DeadChobi (740395)

        The point at which this becomes a Bad Thing is when those of us who live off campus and/or don't do anything illegal with P2P end up footing the bill for the students who do. As long as I don't end up getting charged a blanket fee for other students' uses of the internet, I'm okay with whatever my school decides to do. But if they want to bill me a $40 fee so that they can give me access to some DRM fest of a music server which won't even support my player, they can go fuck themselves.

    • Simple solution. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lunarsight (1053230) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:45AM (#24446727) Homepage

      Step 1:

      Go here: http://www.govtrack.us/ [govtrack.us]

      Step 2:

      See if your Senator voted in favor of this bill.

      Step 3:

      Notify your Senator that you'll be voting for his opponent the next time he's up for re-election.

      On a sidenote, this is why earmarking legislation is a major problem. Corrupt legislators know they can smuggle crap that would NEVER pass in a million years, if they hide it in a bill that has otherwise good intentions. It's one of the few things drawing me to voting for McCain, since he's one of the more outspoken people about this particular practice.

      • One, Obama has spoken out against ear marks as well. Two, McCain is far more beholden to special interest money (i.e., lobbyist money) than Obama. Three, if we just adamantly "vote the bums out" over their votes on this issue, it might force us to vote against a legislator who has otherwise performed in a manner that we find respectable, or, conversely, voting for someone who's beliefs we don't share in order to stick it to the man (like the few handfuls of Clinton backers who vow that they will vote for

      • These is the story your Senator is reading:
        .

        Chemical Society President Praises House Passage of Higher Education Act [marketwatch.com]

        The president of the American Chemical Society today praised Congress as well as a coalition of science, business and education organizations for their work leading to House passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act which supports STEM education.
        ACS President Bruce Bursten, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville said the final bill showed

        • by Lunarsight (1053230) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @12:46PM (#24448543) Homepage

          The odds are quite good that you will out of school and have other things to think about before your Senator comes up for relection. Your threat is just so much hot air.
          Free music in the dorms is never going to rank high on his list of priorites.

          Just for the record, I've been out of college for a considerable amount of time. I rarely if ever user P2P software.

          However, if this isn't a blatant example of fine print being smuggled into existing legislation under the proverbial radar, then I don't know what is. To me, that's the bigger issue here. I'm tired of corporate interests sneaking their wishlists into well-meaning legislation by using those representatives they have in their proverbial pockets to do the deed.

          Perhaps the threat of their removal from office is hollow for the Senate, but something definitely needs to be done here to express our disapproval with this. At very least, write your representation in both sections of Congress, and let them know you don't approve.

          If that doesn't make them change their tune, then perhaps we need to begin playing dirty like the RIAA does.

          • by leabre (304234)

            The problem is, we can "don't approve" all we want but they still keep getting re-elected so obviously enough people do approve or don't care.

            Thanks,
            Leabre

            • The problem is, we can "don't approve" all we want but they still keep getting re-elected so obviously enough people do approve or don't care.

              You said it - most people could care less.

              This isn't even about P2P/file-sharing. It's about the entire legislative process being corrupt. If corporations can pull this stunt with something like this, they can do it for anything.

              So, the million dollar question - how do you get people to give a damn? They seem too fixated on American Idol to bother with such trivial matters as government corruption.

      • Colleges should comply by putting up links to free legal music downloads. There you go, an alternative to illegal music downloads.
        • by antic (29198)

          Could provide an opportunity for people and indie sites to get together and present something useful to the universities that will help them comply, support the underdogs, etc.

          It's sad that something like this can get passed. I would be appalled if this happened in my country.

      • by STrinity (723872)
        You're assuming that (A) everyone cares about this enough for it to be a defining factor in our voting decisions over other issues like FISA, TSA regulations, immigration, Supreme Court confirmations, etc, and (B) the other guy wouldn't be just as much in the pocket of the RIAA.
      • by berashith (222128)

        i jumped in step before this. I wrote to my rep before this went to the floor in the house. He did respond to me , but to inform me that he had voted for the act instead of against it. He did address my concerns of the requirements of policing for funding , but in his mind ( and the minds of other constituents) the benefits of the money being made available and the continued chance at receiving higher education trumped the negatives that I had brought up.

        At least I tried...

        Now to get our damn government to

      • by stinerman (812158)

        That assumes his opponent wouldn't have voted for it anyway.

        People do not base their votes on such trivial issues, and until a critical mass does, all you'll be doing is voting against the incumbent every two years.

        And even if your Senator voted against this bill, I can guarantee you it wasn't for the same reason you opposed it.

    • It's come up before, and it will continue to come up - people just don't like paying the money. Does the RIAA or even the Senate seriously believe that Ohio University is going to offer a better music catalog or design or ease of use than Apple? There's no way, nobody can be that dumb. The music/movie execs are glad to get a win, even if it's pointless, because now it's on the books with overwhelming support, and is a small step forward for them. (I can see the headline now - "Senate Approves Anti-Piracy

    • Actually, I'm pretty sure they mean alternatives for free downloads. For example, I know the college I attended recently started using a system called Ruckus. It let you download free music to your computer, with a surprising selection, as long as you were a college student (you sign in with your college e-mail address/password).

      Unfortunately, it was DRM ridden crap. Which some people found was quite easy to remove.
    • the 'alternative opportunities' that they are required to offer are the shit that RIAA/MPAA bosses are selling. they are basically being FORCED to sell products for those organizations. thats it.
    • by Renraku (518261)

      Its more like:

      "Hey Mr. Public School, if you don't implement this plan, then we'll cut your funding. This will mean your rates must skyrocket to cover the difference as well as inflation, and that you'll lose tons of students. So we suggest you go ahead and make some deals. And for every student you don't turn in, someone on campus gets their kneecaps broken."

  • I have an idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by el_munkie (145510) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:19AM (#24446619)

    Someone (I don't have the needed skills) should make a website that correlates information on campaign donations from opensecrets with voting records of public officials. This was obviously bought by IP-industry lobbyists, and I think that if the general public could see this corruption more easily it would be a lot easier to root out.

    • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:48AM (#24446737) Homepage

      With all due respect, I just opened the full text to see how long it'd be. I'm betting 99%+ of the senators didn't make their decision based on section 494. If you really wanted to make such a site, you should make a site over who throws these kinds of riders into the bills. As long as the laws are so huge, most senators probably ask their staff "is this a good law or not and give me the gist of it". I'm sure there's a hundred organizations like the EFF that have filed comments on pretty much every part of the bill, all of which claiming to be important. It's much more important to find out who's poisoning the laws than trying to make something out of the vote.

      • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by el_munkie (145510) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @09:30AM (#24446959)

        As long as the laws are so huge, most senators probably ask their staff "is this a good law or not and give me the gist of it".

        I have no doubt this happens, but I have to wonder exactly what we pay these guys for if they can't even be bothered to read legislation.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          I have no doubt this happens, but I have to wonder exactly what we pay these guys for if they can't even be bothered to read legislation.

          For the most part, we pay them to bring home the bacon.

          Citizens will forgive just about anything as long as the Federal Funds flow.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          I have no doubt this happens, but I have to wonder exactly what we pay these guys for if they can't even be bothered to read legislation.

          How many of these do they get? How many hearings and meetings and comitees do they have to attend? And don't forget you're not just supposed to read this law, but also any alternative versions, know what the current law is and probably what others have said is good and bad about this law to make any kind of informed decision on the issue. And it's not like that's their only duty, they have to learn about what their constituents want, do campaigning, party politics and, according to slashdot, build their own

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MollyB (162595) *

        you should make a site over who throws these kinds of riders into the bills

        From the limited explanation of rider [wikipedia.org], it appears that the practice is widespread for the purely political expedient of passing legislation that would otherwise have no chance of passage on its own merits. From another viewpoint they can serve as a "poison pill" to kill a bill that otherwise would pass.
        I agree that it is a messy system, but we should attribute motive more to narrow self-interest and less to evil-for-the-hell-of-it.

        my $.02

      • As long as the laws are so huge...

        You just hit a nail on it's head. There is no reason for these laws to be so big. If it only takes a sentence or two to sum up the bill, why isn't the bill one or two sentences long? As a citizen, it would be easier to obey the laws if they were actually understandable, and much easier to pick out the bullshit.

    • Voting records are one thing - is an official voting for this provision or others in the same bill? What is more interested is who adds legislation such as this to the bills?

      As for corruption being easier to root out, I doubt it. There are officials well known for supporting the RIAA/MPAA at every turn (e.g. our friend from Utah), and they really don't take too much heat for it. Then again, when the state of the country and government is as bad as it is copyright legislation is probably the last thing on pe

  • Welcome to Pirate College Matey! Join the best fratenity! Rum Booty Booty Booty! Aaarrr! Salute our mascot, the Squawking Pirate! Keelhaul the Mizzenmast!
  • Nobody learns from history I guess, especially our legislators. Because the following should be obvious by now, even to them:

    technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity

    Which will fail.

    offering alternatives to illegal downloading

    Which will fail. None will be as free or convenient. Until we can get all our spiffy new digital music, digital TV, digital movies, and digital books (especially digital college textbooks for those college folk) in 100% quality with no DRM for free paid for by means

  • Alternatives? Psh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tremegorn (1111055)

    As I'm currently in the "poor college student" demographic, I feel as if I can give a little insight into what these "alternative offerings" actually end up being.

    I attend a rather well known college, and we were supposedly one of the first in the country to adopt a service that provided an 'alternative' to media piracy for students to obtain material by. This was originally provided by Napster, and for the the most part it wasn't a bad deal. At no extra cost to the students, you were able to get (mostly) D

    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      funnily enough that "alternative content provider" is actually something suggested in one of the other replies in this thread. A very interesting effect of this law is that they stimulate the group with the most knowledge, available time, and drive, to find new ways of filesharing without getting caught. nice.
    • It's this kind of nonsense that stopped me from contributing to the university. I figured if they had enough money for patronage to the record labels, my contribution was not going for it's intended purpose: educating young adults.

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Go Penn State!

  • Bad Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peaker (72084) <gnupeakerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:48AM (#24446745) Homepage

    Bad laws should be enforced, even if it requires new laws.

    Bad laws that are not strictly enforced remain in power.

    Bad laws that are not enforced give enforcers too much power (whether to turn a "blind eye").

    Bad laws that are not enforced create a distrust of law in general, and lawlessness.

    Maybe once copyright is TRULY enforced on all of society, people will realize that these restrictions are simply not worth it and finally abolish copyrights.

    • What do you mean by "bad laws"? Do you mean unjust laws, or laws that happen to be a bad idea (yet, are technically justful)?

      Because, if a law happens to be unjust, it can be invalidated in a court, correct?

      If a law is bad, to not enforce the law is a slap in the face concerning the concept of the system we have. It would be better to enforce a bad law (one that is justful) than to ignore it, which breaks the system. Because the system does allow for us to change a bad law into a good law.

      So, is it the para

    • While that's good in theory, it truly sucks for the people the law gets enforced against, and they might have a different opinion about whether it should be enforced. Especially if the public takes its time in realizing it's a bad law. E.g. the war on drugs.
      • by AusIV (950840)
        Yeah, but if you let laws be selectively enforced, they stay on the books. Then a law that nearly everyone breaks can be used to hurt a person the enforcer just doesn't like (perhaps the offender has a politically unpopular opinion).
    • by cliffski (65094)

      oh joy. another idiot suggesting copyright should be dumped.
      Assuming for a minute you are from the USA a technologically advanced country whom each year shifts its balance of economics production more and more away from physical (thanks china!) towards IP, how exactly do you think the US economy will be once people like you have enforced a value of zero on all IP?
      Nothing would please India, China and Africa more than the west being stupid enough to dump copyright.
      Think it through for once.

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:49AM (#24446751) Journal

    You can tell America has been bought and paid for when the government is willing to sacrifice the next generation's education so that the copyright of big corporations is no longer infringed upon.

    • by entrigant (233266)

      your sig throws a 404

    • by westlake (615356)
      You can tell America has been bought and paid for when the government is willing to sacrifice the next generation's education so that the copyright of big corporations is no longer infringed upon.
      .

      You can tell where a student's priorities are when he values his free music fix more than funding for his school.

      • if the country prioritizes its corporations' profits more than it prioritizes its citizens, its citizens prioritize their selfish agendas more than they value their education.

        you reap what you sow. simple as that.
  • "College Opportunity and Affordability Act"

    You gotta love the humor of conservative lobbyists. "Opportunity" to "act" to reduce the "affordability" of your "college" tuition by hiring a guy to play whack-a-mole with your P2P ports "and" write reports about it? I guess they figure people who work in the college sector already get paid too much to do too little.

     

    • by Solandri (704621)

      "College Opportunity and Affordability Act"

      You gotta love the humor of conservative lobbyists. "Opportunity" to "act" to reduce the "affordability" of your "college" tuition by hiring a guy to play whack-a-mole with your P2P ports "and" write reports about it?

      Umm, I suggest you look a little more deeply into the history of the bill and Hollywood in Congress.

      • The Hollywood music and movie industries give more money to Democrats [opensecrets.org] than Republicans by a more than 2:1 margin.
      • The bill, with sec 494, was intro
  • instead of dealing with the energy crisis, the congress and senate would rather please its RIAA/MPAA Masters

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      Thats what the energy crisis is doing... If noone has electricity for computers then P2P will die duh...

  • Section 494 of the Act starts off:

    "(a) In General- Each eligible institution participating in any program under this title shall to the extent practicable-" [emphasis added]

    Note the use of 'shall' and not 'must'. I believe this means that the section is not mandatory.
    [At least this is the interpretation in government contracts, but correct me if I'm wrong.]

    Also, the term 'practicable' is open to interpretation.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @09:56AM (#24447105) Homepage Journal
    hear that title now : "College Opportunity and Affordability Act"

    if you look at it, all the keywords are there. wow, now see : "OPPORTUNITY" a positive word. "AFFORDABILITY" another good, positive word. "COLLEGE" wow, higher education too.

    if you read it, you may be tempted to think this is something that provides opportunity, affordable college education and such. HOW can it be bad ?

    they do that all the time. check this now : Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

    examining it gives you all the necessary feelings : "digital" - wow it has to be something progressive. Millenium - oh boy, we are in 21st century yay. "copyright" -> it has "right" in it, so it has to be good. if you add the bait that is "it will provide/protect jobs" while advertising for it, you are sure to fool the public.

    but of course, for them to be fooling american public for SO long with same ploys, and successfully too, there has to be a number of preconditions, providing for the fooling. i am not sure which hold true :

    a) American people are UTTERLY stupid
    b) American people "dont care" c) American people care little, but only for selfish reasons - see "it will protect jobs". and plan very short sighted.
    d) American people are powerless
    f) All of the above
    g) Mixture from all the above in varying degrees.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Solandri (704621)

      hear that title now : "College Opportunity and Affordability Act"

      They even tipped their hat to the groups who helped draft it, and made sure its name ended in *AA.

  • It's going to get a lot worse. Soon even your personal life will be invaded:

    Want that home loan? Well you have to agree to be monitored. Want that job? Better not be on any IP 'watched list' ( much as bad credit can ruin you now )

    Random street searches " we see you have an ipod, that is grounds for search. Do you have your licenses for every song on here in your possession?"

  • Apart from what *AA says, is there ANY proof that there is piracy going on in colleges across US?
    Don't tell me that every one knows why students use DC++ etc.. I want PROOF of piracy?
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      But proof is a burden, why should we have to provide it when our word is good enough?

      /MPAA-mindset

  • Drug war (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mounthood (993037) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @10:39AM (#24447449)

    They did the same thing when the drug war was all the rage, and all those laws are still in place.

    We know it hasn't worked, but it was never about something that works. If it damages the economy or puts millions in prison, they just don't care. Think of this as setting the boundaries of discourse. Even if it doesn't help the music industry in the short term, the majority of Americans will absorb the following:

    • Decent law-abiding people think not paying is stealing. Music costs money; anything else is stealing.
    • Networks need to be policed and monitored.
    • Everyone is responsible for stopping drugs/downloading music. You cannot sit in a meeting at your organization and suggest that the policies are wrong and that the organization should act differently... it's a boundary of discussion.

    Its not about making sales or promoting a store, its about changing hearts and minds. The music industry will benefit from the assumptions: they have to exist because otherwise music is stealing, and decent people are against stealing music, and organizations work to stop stealing music.

    Sure, we smoked in college and downloaded music, but now we're adults. We don't sit in meetings and suggest that drug tests at work are wrong... do we?

  • It's a good sign that the RIAA is successfully preventing the public from hearing the product turned out by the big labels. Younger demographics, who are their target, do not listen to the radio nor watch TV. They get their music through their friends and online. The more successful the RIAA is at cutting off the online channel, the less access they have to the people they want to reach.

    Older demographics already have all the Huey Lewis & the News and Led Zep tracks they could ever want, so they're no

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      I think the MAFIAA is full of bullshit because lets look at some things shall we...

      Have they ever claimed Piracy was on the decline? No. Certainly Piracy has ebbs and flows just like every other 'crime' rate.

      Even if they managed to get rid of all the illegitimate online copyrighted material they wouldn't want to. I am sure even THEY know that the illegitimate distribution actually benefits them. This has been proven in a large number of studies in terms of music. Those who pirate music tended to be those th

  • by sdo1 (213835) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @10:56AM (#24447577) Journal

    Is P2P even all that relevant when a 1TB USB HDD costs about a hundred fifty bucks? Load drive with songs/movies/media/whatever, walk 10 ft to dorm door next to yours, select all, copy, paste, wash, rinse, repeat.

    Just stop trying to pretend that it can be stopped or traced. Stop writing worthless laws to try and curtail it. It's too late. It's too easy and too widespread and P2P isn't really that much of a factor when such massive amounts of data can be transferred so quickly and cheaply by actually picking up a hard drive and carrying it to your buddy's place. It's only a matter of time before multi-terabytes of storage are on a tiny memory stick for twenty bucks. Then what?

    Artists and media companies need to start offering value again (like the awesome new Paul Westerberg album available at the DRM-free Amazon MP3 store for $0.49). Like it or not, the ease of copying (illegal as it may be) has caused the value of media to plummet. The more artists (like Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and Paul Westerberg) realize that and adjust accordingly, the better off they'll be. Instead the **AA will continue to be in the pockets of lawmakers for more continued (albeit unsuccessful) attempts to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    -S

  • Kharma whoring (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @11:19AM (#24447781)

    On the final version of the bill that came out of conference committee and went to the White House

    House: 380-49 [house.gov]
    Senate: 83-8 [senate.gov]

    Why do we need to link to the "open source!" info when the original source is also open to the public (and, in my opinion, more useful)?

  • This is a message that our current legislators think that serving the corporate recording and distribution industry is far more important than allowing kids to get an education. The primary subject they are voting for is to let a small portion of selfish interests be able to dictate frivolous laws on what all of us should do and don't do regardless of what consequences and damages it puts on the judicial and justice system.

    • The title should read: Congress Thinks Commercial profits > (greater than) Education

      (though in general it's more like money greater than citizens...)

  • So I will assume that all the other "no votes" are potential vice presidential candidates :-)

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