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Anti-P2P College Bill Moving Through House 334

An anonymous reader writes "A article is covering an amendment to the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (pdf) that should make folks in Hollywood, the RIAA, and the MPAA well pleased. The tiny section seeks to hinge government approval of an institution of higher learning on whether or not they adequately dissuade Peer-to-Peer filesharing of copyrighted materials. The Act came out of the House Education and Labor Committee, which agreed on the terms unanimously. There is still some question, though, as to what penalties should be handed down for institutions that don't do enough to protect intellectual property. 'Some university representatives and fair-use advocates worry that schools run the risk of losing aid for their students if they fail to come up with the required plans. "The language in the bill appears to be clear that failure to carry out the mandates would make an institution ineligible for participation in at least some part of Title IV (which deals with federal financial aid programs)," Steven Worona, director of policy and networking programs for the group Educause, said in a telephone interview Thursday.'" Update: 11/16 16:36 GMT by Z : PDF link corrected.
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Anti-P2P College Bill Moving Through House

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  • by djasbestos ( 1035410 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:09AM (#21378853)
    ...make it the law!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Farakin ( 1101889 )
      I wonder if Mr. Burns is actually the head of the RIAA. "That bill is going to pass sir" "EXCELLENT, Smithers, Excellent."
    • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:37AM (#21379269)
      The one that got me was this one...

      I open a store and say "Come on in and pay whatever you want." Are you on f---ing crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?

      Movies came to the home market at $65 to $160 each. Piracy was a problem even though a blank T120 VHS tape sold for $15 - $20 each. I know, been there and done that. CD's on the other hand have added rootkits and DRM to make them incompatible with your playback equipment (iPod) by trying to prevent ripping. At the time I can buy full length movies at 2 for $20 or 4 for $20 in the pre viewed section at Blockbuster, many CDs are still less than an hour in length and are over $10 each. They are often not marked that they contain defective by design problems. Movies have THX certification for quality assurance of both the video and audio quality. CDs on the other hand are engineered to compete in the loudness war at the expense of dynamic range and harmonic distortion (Clipping).

      Go a head and open a store. Provide in inferior product that won't play on my portable MP3 player for an extreme price and tell me again how this business model works? I buy movies instead.

      I can buy oldies (movies) at Wal*Mart for 5.99. Try to find any good 20 year old Kiss, Pink Floyd, Styx, Queen, etc for 5.99 that hasn't been compressed.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CSMatt ( 1175471 )
        The same gripes you make about CDs can easily be made about movies too. Both VHS and DVD have DRM. The only difference is that CSS was incorporated into the DVD standard so you can play CSS-encrypted discs in almost every player, and Macrovision only kicks in if you're playing or recording through a VCR or DVD recorder. Like the CDs, many companies have also introduced non-standard DRM into their DVDs that can break the compatibility. DVDs also have region encoding and there's the PAL/NTSC nuisance to d
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

          While DVDs are sold for $5 in Wal-Mart, it's usually because most people just don't want those titles. By contrast, I would imagine that most music made in the last 20 years still has a good amount of demand, which is why their prices haven't gotten lower.

          Funny, the $5 movies at wal-mart seem to fly off the shelves, while most of their old music doesn't budge. No album that EVER comes out seems to drop in price. Ever. Album from 30 years ago? $12.95. Yet movies? Most of the Lord of the Rings movies are now under $10, as is every movie more than a few years old. Only the newest releases seem to command a high price, and even then they're always under $20 now (most new releases seem to be around $15). It is a pitiful state of affairs when in 90% of ca

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            CDs may be shorter, but they provide much more entertainment. There's really not much reason to watch a movie more than three or four times (if it's good), but a (good) CD can be played back dozens of time and continue to provide value. Sound quality with CDs is definitely an issue, though... Some artists are starting to release their music in surround sound, but if only I had a player for that...
    • by cliffski ( 65094 )
      aren't ALL business models only viable if the law is obeyed? Like the law that says you have to pay for stuff on the shelves of wal-mart. Is the retail business model outdated because ultimately it requires police officers to enforce it?
      Your argument makes zero sense. Unless you advocate anarchy where all laws are ignored?
      • Unless you advocate anarchy where all laws are ignored?

        anarchy doesn't call for the ignorance of laws. it calls for the abolishment of them.
      • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:49PM (#21380289)
        He is talking about obsolete business models.

        Say it's 1403, and you form an association that collaborates, organizes and controls all written documents. You call it the "Stationers Company/Guild".

        Then decades later, in 1436 or so, someone invents a printing press, and it makes it easier printing documents with much less effort.

        At first, you market the quality of hand printed works. Later you buy some of these machines, print documents cheaper, but try to keep control.

        But at the end of the early to mid 1500's there are too many other groups that have the printing machines, and the control of your company is dwindling.

        So the obvious thing to do? Use the money that you have, to buy some government. So in 1557, the government gives you a royal charter, a monopoly for all printing. You milk that for as long as you can (for 130 years it that case).

        Now fast forward to the 20th century.
        Your MPAA or RIAA has pretty tight control of the production and distribution of movies and music. Printing high quality records and film is an expensive business to get into, so it is natural for large company control.

        Then this thing called the Internet is invented. A media production and distribution middle man no longer is necessary. Things like and napster pop up, and information is flowing, uncontrolled.

        Well, it this case, we repeat the methods of the Stationers. Buy some government. In addition to lawsuits based on already purchased copyright monopolies, we buy a copyright extension, buy a new DMCA law to protect our new DRM encryption scheme, and buy laws to increase penalties for those damn college students who refuse to allow us to have the control we had before the internet.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cliffski ( 65094 )
          the internet lets you break the RIAA monopoly easily. here you go:

          1)record music
          2)put music for sale on website

          but the file sharing crowd would rather do this:

          1)copy someone else's music!

          Thats where it goes wrong. ironically, the same people who bitch about torrent ratios and 'leeches' and people 'not saying thanks' on forums sharing copyrighted files, do not realise they are the ultimate leeches, the people who take commercially produced content for free and give NOTHING back.

          There is no
  • by Mrs. Grundy ( 680212 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:10AM (#21378883) Homepage
    Why don't we make this all a lot easier to follow and understand: Simply replace the Senate with the MPAA and the House with the RIAA. We'll save some money by not having to pay the middle-men.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 )
      Or maybe take their ears away from the corporate whispers for some time with us?

      A quick google search found these.
      List of representatives []
      Search for yours, by zip. Make it easier! []

      Send a letter.

      • No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:24PM (#21379933) Homepage Journal
        Don't send a letter. Vote out of office. And the guy you vote in... vote him out of office in the next election, until you find one that doesn't suck corporate cock.

        The best way to promote change and make sure your Congressman listens to you over some corporation is to make sure he knows that his job depends on him doing so, and the best way to do that is to demonstrate it by repeatedly swapping congressmen out of office after one term.

        Of course, one person alone can't do that much so you might need to band together with likeminded people. Perhaps you should form a PaC. That worked pretty well for the AARP (They all vote, too. That's an important bit.)

        Oh, except then you'd be a big corporate interest and your congressman still won't listen to you! Oh... the irony...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        much more effective: make a phone call.

        If you talk to lobbyists, they'll tell you that often a representative will vote according to how many calls from constituents he got on either side, and often only as many as a hundred or so people will call! This is where you can actually make a difference! When you call you'll be greeted by a staffer, so make sure you know the title of the bill AND the code. Citing both will more likely result in your opinion being recorded by the staffer.

        I'm not sure what's goin
      • by Saxophonist ( 937341 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:24PM (#21382507)
        Representative Ellison:

        I urge you to oppose a provision contained in H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, specifically in Section 494, entitled "Campus-Based Digital Theft Prevention." This provision unfairly and needlessly places a burden on colleges and universities to subscribe to services that may have little or no educational value and/or to purchase, possibly with federal funds, software or equipment to impede file sharing on their computer networks.

        It is not the job of colleges and universities to police student activities at the behest of private businesses, notably those represented by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. The money spent by colleges and universities in compliance will inevitably be passed on to students through fees and costs, negating the very idea of "College Opportunity and Affordability" that the bill's title purports to create. Federal funds used to further this end could be better spent on actual student aid if it is truly the goal of Congress to help students financially through this bill.

        Further, it is not technically feasible for filtering software to distinguish between legal peer-to-peer traffic and other peer-to-peer traffic on a network. Such software will either stifle all peer-to-peer traffic, including legal, protected speech necessary to academic freedom, or it will take an ineffective approach that may prevent some illegal file sharing traffic, but may also permit some such traffic as well as block legal file sharing traffic. Copyright holders can and often do permit distribution of their works through peer-to-peer and other distribution channels. Blocking any such distribution channel is tantamount to blocking academic freedom and free speech itself.

        I urge you to get Section 494 stricken from H.R. 4137. Failing that, I urge you to vote against this bill. I eagerly await your reply.


        (Well, I used my real name.)

        Feel free to use any or all of this in your e-mail or letter. Of course, use your own representative's name. If you feel it would be more effective, call in addition. Let your opinion be heard.
  • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:11AM (#21378889) Journal
    Ban anyone from breathing if the join the RIAA.

    No offence, but why should one illegal activity like that be treated above all others? Here's one, one that's more useful, ban the funding to colleges that don't do enough to prevent rape on campus. That would actually be a good crime-prevention to tie to funding, and it is a problem.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't like stealing (or the less wieldly intellectual property infringement if you prefer), and it's bad. But this industry that has long since lost 95% of it's creativity and intelligence, is now trying to force money from people, threatening the creativity and intelligence of those people also? Make people dumber so they like your stuff more? Make Brittany Spears and Backdoor Boys more popular?

    That is the stupidest waste of legal paper I've seen in a long time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yakumo.unr ( 833476 )
      that and why not the same for anti drug and gun policies is pretty much exactly what my girlfriend had said as soon as she read the original article on this..

      damn I lost my mod points yesterday :(
      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        that and why not the same for anti drug and gun policies

        Why anti-gun policies when guns are not only perfectly legal, but protected by the Constitution itself?

        Why should drugs be illegal in the first place? Shouldn't I have the right to screw up my life any damned way I please? Where in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to outlaw a purely personal activity? (The same goes for prostitution and gambling). If a woman has the right to remove a fetus from her body, why doesn't she have the
        • Good points, but I'll argue that the sentance for any crime comitted under the influence (or to assist in getting under the influence) of such mind altering substances should be increased. Unfortunately, they can increase other forms of crime, and that is the problem. People think because they weren't in control of their actions, they shouldn't be responsible, but they chose not to be in control - and should accept the concequences of that stupidity..
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jerry ( 6400 )
          Where in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to outlaw a purely personal activity?

          When your "purely personal" activity infringes on the Constitutional right others to be secure in their person and property.

          I don't care what you smoke, drink, inject, sniff or screw, as long as your activity only harms you and no one else.

          If it were only possible to bring back from the dead a person MURDERED by a driver using a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or one smoking pot, or sniffing glue,

      • that and why not the same for anti drug and gun policies

        But there is something like that. It's called certification. []
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GeckoX ( 259575 )
      Welcome to Post-Secondary Daycare!

      This is the beginning of yet another very slippery slope. Students, stand up for your rights as citizens of the country you live in! You are not second class citizens, and yet they'd like you to be.

      More legislation for the sake of big business. This is so sad on so many levels.
    • They seem to be forgetting that these very same institutions are busily turning out the workers and business men/women/person/s [delete as appropriate] of tomorrow. I'll just bet they'll be queuing up to work for the companies that tried to screw them over when they were at uni, oh yes....

      What it may well do is force an upsurge in people looking for new ways of doing business, and happily stomping on the remains of the current companies and their representative organizations.

      Isn't that how Hollywood got sta
    • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:14PM (#21379789) Homepage
      actually the reason that britney and the backstreet boys are on TV and you don't like them is that they sell records. If you pirate music, you are invisible to the market, and your purchasing decision doesn't register. The record execs don't sign bands that they think people like, the sign bands that make money.
      You could have some cool indie band that was massively popular amongst the slashdot reading demographic, but they will never get a record deal or national tour sponsored, because they do not generate money.
      Removing yourself from the marketplace for music means losing any influence whatsoever on the supply side decisions. Money talks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ByOhTek ( 1181381 )

        There are a large number of people that don't like them and don't pirate (count me in that crowd)

        The reason the are popular is that they pander to the lowest frequent denominator. I won't use "common", as in that phrase, it means found everywhere. Sadly that is pretty low.
      • Flawed reasoning (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Peter Trepan ( 572016 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @01:20PM (#21380677)

        If you're implying that Backstreet Boys are popular because their fans pay for albums whereas the fans of more obscure bands do not, your reasoning is flawed. For one thing, as a band approaches obscurity, it would be increasingly difficult to find a p2p seed for their material. For another thing, taste tends to broaden with age, as do people's paychecks, making them more likely to turn to the more convenient rather than lurking for hours in search of a seed for an early Bob Dylan album. Thirdly, label-constructed boy bands already dominated the airwaves before the advent of p2p.

        It's more likely that the Backstreet Boys dominate the radio because if you want to make a lot of money with only one act or one station, your best bet is to appeal to large groups of people with homogenous tastes - not various groups of people with differing tastes.

        In fact, leaving the low-bandwidth medium of radio to lowest common denominator acts and promoting more nuanced bands through the internet is probably the best way to do it from everyone's perspective. It's a waste of time for the labels to take on small bands, and it's a waste of time for the small bands to try to get signed to labels who aren't interested in them.

  • by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:12AM (#21378899)
    Just about eveyrhting that can be shared through P2P is copyrighted. For example those Linux ISOs I downloaded last night, they were copyrighted, now they were under the GPL which allows me to share them, but it still is copyrighted. So are the creative commons works, so now can we not share them like the licence allows us to do due to this bill? It is so much like the *IAA to try to distroy innovation. People are wondering why America has lost business and tech domonence yet would vote for this bill. They would egarly press for more education in computers, yet favor Microsoft which got us here in the first place. Our new motto for our country should be "Don't innovate, don't share and don't learn unless you have paid your patent protection fees and copyrights to the *IAA"
  • Homer (Score:5, Funny)

    by _Shorty-dammit ( 555739 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:15AM (#21378951)
    Every time I see another MPAA/RIAA story I can't help but picture Homer Simpson singing "I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T!" as he burns his house down.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blast3r ( 911514 )
      You should get a big kick out of this then. []

      This tool they are talking about includes numerous network based tools they want Universities to install on their network. These tools CAN NOT detect ILLEGAL file sharing. They can only detect that file sharing is taking place. So what are Universities supposed to do? Watch the logs and when someone shares a file launch a raid on their room to check and see if th

  • let's throw out the existing governmental system, you know the one that is bought and paid for by the corporations, or anyone with the cash on hand to do so and replace it with SOMETHING THAT FREAKING WORKS. I'm sick to death of the government pandering to these idiots who can't keep up with the times and the technology. For those, the only method of survival is bribery to dismantle any competitive alternative to themselves (you hear that Verizon and all you other morons?). Elections aren't working, sinc
    • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:19AM (#21379019)
      It's time for a governmental wide recall.
    • If people would vote for third parties instead of saying that it wouldn't work, then we'll see some change.
      • The US election system and legislative system are both set up in a way that squelches third parties.

        With no coalition-building as happens in a parliamentary system, third parties have no pull in Congress; with the electoral college system, they have no hope of influencing executive elections either.
      • by shinma ( 106792 )
        Yes, because that worked so well in 2000...
    • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:48AM (#21379419) Homepage
      let's throw out the existing governmental system, you know the one that is bought and paid for by the corporations, or anyone with the cash on hand to do so and replace it with SOMETHING THAT FREAKING WORKS

      Actually our "wise" elected leaders do not pander merely to money, they pander to those without money just as well when the contribution-challenged represent a likely voting block. I'm about to use the "R' word, please try to keep your emotions in check and read the entire comment before firing off a flaming response. Thanks. ;-) Republicans, the real one - not the one's running the show today, prefer a smaller federal government due to legislation like this. It is not that they do not believe that government has some responsibility towards educations. It is that they believe that many things are better handled by more local government - state, county, city, school board - where we have more of a say in things. In other words local control rather than distant control from Washington, DC. If you take federal money you better damn well expect that there will be federal strings attached.

      Democrats, the real one - not the one's running the show today, used to agree on that last point about federal strings. John F Kennedy, during the 1960 presidential debate, was against federal support of public schools for this reason. He argued that if the federal government helps it should be with one time costs, like construction of a school, and not with ongoing costs such as salary, books, etc. He warned that the later will invariable come with strings. As the US election season gets going keep an eye open for the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate on those political cable channel, or check youtube. It is awesome. Two intelligent candidates intelligently and substantively debating issues. We haven't seen that in a while, and it doesn't seem like we'll being seeing that any time soon either.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      But how could you do that, since the corporations who finance elections, bribing both major parties with "contributions" to do their bidding are in charge?

      The corporations control all media except the internet, meaning that the corporations control both media and government. Witnesss Nader vs Libertarian; Nader wasn't on th eballot in enough states to win even if he'd won every state he was on the ballot on, while the Libertarians were on the ballot in 49 states. But the corporate media slobbered all over t
  • by theMerovingian ( 722983 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:18AM (#21378999) Journal

    here []

    Also note the status of the bill, it has just been introduced. []
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn ( 1126837 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:20AM (#21379045)
    Here are the emails for the county officials and city council for the largest cities in George Miller's district. Make sure to send Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) so they might actually read it.

    Subject: George Miller hides language in H.R.4137 that would remove federal funding from colleges unable to stop file-sharing


    Dear Sir or Madam,

    News source: []

    Bill source: []

    This is unbelievably unconscionable and corrupt on the part of your elected representative. The MPAA is applauding Rep. George Miller for introducing an anti-piracy bill that threatens the nation's colleges with the loss of $100 Billion a year in federal financial aid, should they fail to have a technology plan to stop illegal file sharing.

    The proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page bill, has alarmed university officials. "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," said university officials in a letter to Congress. "Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal."
    • Subject: George Miller hides language in College Opportunity and Affordability Act that removes federal funding from colleges unable to stop file-sharing
    • Thank you for posting something useful to this discussion. /. has over (using Dr Evil voice) 5 MILLION patrons but all the most can do is complain about how wrong this is. I usually sit back and watch both sides dems/republicans liberal/right wing duke it out in hilariously stupid fashion but this time peoples lives and futures are being threatened because an industry has a huge lobbiest group and deep pockets. I will be contacting my congressman and voicing my concerns on this matter. Imagine if over 5 MIL
  • Hey, Americans (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rueger ( 210566 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:21AM (#21379049) Homepage
    In all seriousness, are you all completely f*cking MAD??! How can anyone in your country sit by and watch this sort of thing? How can anyone with two brain cels to rub together cast a vote for either Democrats or Republicans? I don't even really care about P2P use by students - this is just a supremely stupid bit of legislation.

    Seriously, if your elected politicians will vote for this, what else are they doing that defies all sense?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by faloi ( 738831 )
      How can anyone with two brain cels to rub together cast a vote for either Democrats or Republicans?

      Perhaps you haven't been following voter turn-out trends. Most people aren't voting for Democrats or Republicans. They're staying home. Congress's approval ratings are in the toilet. Citizens aren't happy with their elected officials. People are screaming at their representatives when they do something stupid. But we haven't gotten to the point where we psychically stop bills before they start. Only w
      • Congress's approval ratings are in the toilet. Citizens aren't happy with their elected officials.
        Part of the problem is that most people aren't happy about Congress, but they think their state's representatives and senators are great. Citizens are perfectly happy with their elected officials, it's everyone else's elected officials that they don't like.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      How can anyone in your country sit by and watch this sort of thing?

      This isn't simply an American problem. This sort of private co-opting of government is a big problem, but it's not just *our* problem as Americans. You appear to be Canadian - your government saw fit some time ago to provide a subsidy to your recording associations for all blank media sold in your country. That's just one example. So please - we don't need the condescending bit, it's a problem pretty much everywhere.

      • by GeckoX ( 259575 )
        Canuck here.

        Couple points: It's not a subsidy on all blank media, data media is exempt. And in many cases, exactly the same media is sold with and without the subsidy, so you can easily circumvent paying.

        Having said that, it's a meager token, one that I happily pay as it allows our government to tell the **AA to take a flying leap on our behalf. Also knowing that, in theory at least, that money does get distributed to the artists. I really don't have a problem with an artist getting paid a pittance when a c
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Also knowing that, in theory at least, that money does get distributed to the artists.

          Does it or not? The difference between theory and reality is that in reality, theory doesn't mean shit.

          Having said that, it's a meager token, one that I happily pay as it allows our government to tell the **AA to take a flying leap on our behalf.

          Since when does giving someone money tell them to take a flying leap?

          I really don't have a problem with an artist getting paid a pittance when a copy of their work is made

          • by GeckoX ( 259575 )
            Wow, who pissed in your cereal this morning?

            That money gets paid to the **AA, who is in charge of dispersing the funds from there. Thus the theory involved in the artists actually seeing any of it.

            It is legal in Canada to make copies of media for personal use. Not so clear cut in the states. Paying that subsidy to the **AA basically means that the **AA agrees to this, and thus can not take legal action against people in Canada that choose to do so. In other words, if the **AA were to try to take legal actio
    • Because the youth of America would rather sit an bitch about it on Slashdot, Blogs, etc.. without actually doing anything about it. Older folks have NO IDEA what P2P is!
  • Except for the time to acheave an insightful comment on Slashdot and put the effort in witting to your Representative you may perhaps beable to stop it.... I already send a message to my Rep... Have you?
  • Call them up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    Call or write your congressman or senator. Colleges should not be forced to play law enforcement. That's the government's and/or prosecutor's job.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:24AM (#21379089) Homepage Journal
    I still am trying to figure out how the Supreme Court allows Congress to support, or directly provide, loans at the Federal level for college students. It makes absolutely no sense to me that anyone can find support for money taken from me so that you can get your college education.

    My father came to this country penniless, and worked as a waiter to get through college. He didn't have Federal support for college, so upon graduating he had no debt. Today, most of my friends who graduated in 1996-1998 still are paying off their bills, and I'm sure I'm partially paying for some of it through whatever fraudulent taxation system the Feds use to acquire my funds to pay for others.

    Can't people see that Federally-financed loans are one of the primary reasons that tuition is so high? Before Federal loans, colleges would loan students their own money (at 1-2% interest) to go to school. The colleges had good reason to keep tuition low since they were taking a risk with their own money. Now we have people paying for college loans until they're 35 -- and those who never went to college and never wanted to are supporting others as well.

    Combine that with no Constitutional mandate for regulation of the Internet, or for criminalizing non-physical content sharing, and you have a really hilarious law that would make the Founders roll in their graves non-stop.

    This bill is a non-issue. It protects the inherent rights of no individual, but provides subsidies to special interest groups. Where's the Supreme Court when you need them?
    • by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:43AM (#21379345)
      Well, I come from the UK where we used to have completely funded University education by Grants.
      Now we have loans, which I consider to be a huge step backwards.

      The idea of funding (in the Federal level in the US) is to ensure that if someone proves themself to be extraordinarily bright, the fact that they may not have enough money to attend university should not be a barrier to them receiving a damn good education. The principle behind this is that this bright person may well come up with the solution to a problem that cures cancer, solves the energy problems of the world or some other wonderful thing.
      They may also create the next plague, be an evil mastermind or some other thing. But the point is that while they're pursuing their dream, they're quite probably going to be in a highly paid job doing some extremely high brow work. And while they're working, they're getting taxed. And over time this elevated level of tax paid more than pays back the money they were allocated by having their tuition fees paid for.. And all the while potentially helping improve the quality of life for all.

      So, I've no problems with grants, or anything else like that which funds education. That's a good use of money that stands an elevated chance of making the world a better place.

      Now, to turn round and say "If you don't kow tow to the special interests of a business entity, we'll remove your accreditation to effectively teach people and educate them", what you're essentially saying is that you don't care about the future potential money that may be generated by all the people being taught in the future, especially the very bright, but poorer ones who NEED the funding.
      You'd rather hamstring your technological base of the future, and future competitiveness in the world market to satiate the demands of a corporate entity that produces NO technology, merely entertainment (which is fast becoming of questionably value world wide).
      This is a very good strategy, long term, to ensure you become a second class country with an inferior technology base. Money in the pockets of a few non-entities at the sacrifice of the progress of all.
      Rank blackmail and extortion.
    • It makes absolutely no sense to me that anyone can find support for money taken from me so that you can get your college education.

      Since currency is produced by the government, they can take as much as they'd like from you. If you don't like it, start bartering with everyone. The founding fathers had a problem with taxation without representation, but as taxation is currently legislated by elected representatives, the system is working as it was intended.

      • Since currency is produced by the government, they can take as much as they'd like from you. If you don't like it, start bartering with everyone.

        We would if they'd let us [].

    • by absoluteflatness ( 913952 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:09PM (#21379729)

      As a college student, I've never quite understood how the economics of college work out the way they do. Tuition and fees for my school are $3,698.50 a semester for in-state students, and $9,887.50 for out-of-state students. There are roughly 16,000 students enrolled full-time from in state, and around 6,100 from out of state. So, from tuition alone, the school takes in about $59,176,000 twice a year from in-state students, and $60,313,750 from out-of-state students. I'm too lazy for better research right now (as I know the university gets money from the state, thus the lower tuition, and from other sources), but, if my multiplication skills are still good, my single school is directly charging 22,100 students $119,489,750 per semester.

      On average, students take 5 classes a semester, so, by my reckoning, on average, students directly pay around $1000 per professor/class. Our student to faculty ratio is something like 16:1. Where does all the money go to here? Despite ever-increasing tuition, the school continues to run a deficit. Rather than update computer labs, students are simply told to bring their (required) laptop computers to labs. Textbooks are paid for by the student, sold at a profit by the university bookstore. I realize that facilities and education cost money, but it seems like someone, or everyone, is on the take here.

      As a final note, on your point about student loans. It seems that any system set up to help poor people with something expensive just encourages raising the price. The system that has healthcare be hugely expensive, and solves that problem by paying a company whose sole purpose is to keep the status quo going, is crazily backwards. Same with education. Simply handing out money only strengthens the system. If colleges (or healthcare) are genuinely too expensive for many people, how is a subsidy on their current practices supposed to fix anything?

    • Citibank is raping my wife $1300 a month to pay for her loan so she can make a lovely $45k a year in expensive southern california where our rent is $1700 a month. We are almost bankrupt and I may have to drop out of school and get a second job to pay for this. Bankruptcies will not cover student loans.

      So no taxes are not paying for this but rather those who graduate. This does not include my soon to be $1000 a month as well so I do nt have to work minimum wage jobs because I lack the magical piece of pape
    • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) *
      Where's the Supreme Court when you need them?

      Deciding that every law is allowed by the Interstate Commerce Clause as long as it applies to people who
      a) live in a state.
      b) sometimes engage in commerce.

      Sorry, but if you speak up for the 9th and 10th Amendments today you get ignored and/or publicly reviled as a crazy person, unless you're transparently applying one of them only to a single issue where half of the country is on your side anyway. The opportune time to stand up for a generally limited Federal
  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:24AM (#21379097)
    The saddest part of this flawed logic, to me, is that the established schools that would qualify for this federal money will suffer the most from this. My generation was a part of that 'absolutely everyone must go to college or they will forever be unemployed' push. Back then, only drop-outs and teen moms ever went to 'night school' or 'community college'. This, in recent years, has changed a lot.

    There are now a lot of ways to get a degree, and since the employee market is flooded with them now, they don't have nearly as much meaning as they once did. And the traditional schools pumping out so many psychology and sociology majors (my self included) without any job market to support them has added to this problem. Degrees are like driver's licenses these days. Your boss wants a copy for their file, but never really looks at it again.

    Locally we've seen huge growth in 'technical colleges' and 'education centers'. My wife goes to Kaplan online. A good friend of mine used the University of Pheonix. Have they suffered for those choices? Not really, because the name on the degree isn't that important any more. Just like with comic books, when you print too many of the damn things the value goes way, way down.

    With that in mind, imagine the bevy of options a young person would have these days in terms of education. Imagine also that they get to their dorm room and realize that they can't use the internet. Well, technically they can, but they lose access to a lot of content that is important to them. Their lives for the next five years (and yes, the profit model really does encourage at least four and a half...) will be less enjoyable for a number of reasons. Should access to the internet be one of them?

    And in this mindset, how many will begin to wonder if their credits will transfer?
    • "My generation was a part of that 'absolutely everyone must go to college or they will forever be unemployed' push."

      Every generation is subject to that bullshit. The joke is that with low unemployment today is the ideal time to skip college and get into the workforce early.

      • Yep. Best time to work is when the economy is going well, so get a job, save some money, and when it starts it inevitably will, being a cyclical phenomenon, go to school. By that point you may have a better idea of what you want to do for a living, and not end up settling for a placeholder "I dun went to colege" degree.

    • Under the same logic your screwed to minimum wage regardless of skill without the magical piece of paper. If everyone has them then everyone needs them for a job.

      So if some kid is screwed out of college its walmart time and welfare.
  • by plowboylifestyle ( 862919 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:24AM (#21379099)
    this room isn't smokey enough. Oh and don't worry about the college kids. As I said before college students are not known for rebelling against draconian measures aimed specifically at them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Winckle ( 870180 )
      In America, no.

      In France and Canada, yes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      In the 60s and 70s yes. But nowadays college kids stand by like sheep and watch as a fellow student is tazered for asking a question. They are by and large spineless.
      • In the 60s and 70s yes.

        Uh, what did they change in the 60s and 70s? The same stooges who were running around talking about changing the world in the 60s and 70s are those in command today and still the changes haven't happened. In fact, since they've taken control things have had a downturn in several areas.

        People keep talking up this hippie revolution ala Dennis Hopper but the fact is that kids are still spending time in jail for a couple of joints and the only revolution that Hopper is pushing today is
  • Just go ahead and add "Avoiding the music industry's nanny state / racketeering" to the list of good reasons to live off campus.

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:30AM (#21379197)
    If universities are doing content filtering to weed out P2P traffic, then they obviously aren't functioning as a common carrier.

    Does this make them liable for anything else illegal done with their network? What about the transmission of viruses?

    I don't think they want to go this route.
    • I was thinking the same thing. If I were in charge (generally speaking) I'd lawyer up, and if it came down to having to do something, I'd outsource all student connections to some large ISP, then source the school's backbone infrastructure as a service through that ISP. Now, the school no longer has responsibility for the internet connection of students, and it is no longer a federal issue. Congress cannot force an ISP to become network un-nuetral :)

      Not sure about all the details, but the idea seems sound.
      • Well, they already strong-arm colleges into letting the Army come recruit.

        Let me tell you, those mobile Army recruiting stations they set up are *gigantic*... there was a huge one that just sprang up yesterday outside of the entrance to the football stadium here on the night of a big game, trying to trap the people going to watch.

        What a crock. So much for neutral academic dialogue.
  • []

    The only way they know that we as a population are opposed is to let them know. So drop them a line to let them know how stupid it is that things have gotten this far, and to oppose it going any further.

    Of course they wont listen to you, all they care about is the Money that the RIAA, and MPAA is slipping them under the table.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... you realize how utterly backwards your country is when funding for higher education is based upon compliance with irrational self-aggrandizing laws written by a for-profit entertainment industry.

    Fantastic. Where do I sign up?

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:47AM (#21379395) Homepage
    These are younger and still impressionable people. You damage their youth experience and place them directly in front of the **AA Steam-roller and you will witness the birth of an ARMY of Republican voters. Do these people *NOT* realize that College-age people are also VOTERS? And as less mature voters, they're a lot more easily swayed by their direct experience and their emotions.

    The Democrats have historically been directed by "big media" and when their targets were hazy, people were less offended. But now the targets are clearly defined and those targets VOTE... especially when they are being targeted and have someone to vote out of office.
  • Analogy time! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by e-scetic ( 1003976 ) *

    Let's choose a lobby, any lobby...let me, scratch that, let's go for the gold, let's choose AIPAC (pro-Israel lobby).

    Ok, now, let's have this lobby sponsor an amendment to one of these education bills, calling for the schools to take action and develop plans to ensure there is no anti-Israel "hate speech" anywhere on campus. Further, the schools who don't take sufficient action risk losing funding. Schools develop fucking SWAT teams to check every book in the library, every dorm room, scan ev

  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:49AM (#21379431) Homepage Journal
    This is what happens when the voters stop voting, or vote on the basis of strawman issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc.

    Listen up people: *START VOTING* !!!

    The *IAA has the money, no doubt; BUT THEY CAN'T VOTE! AND IN THE END, ONLY VOTES COUNT!!!

    If you don't have the money to donate to candidates who look after your interests, AT LEAST GET OUT AND SUPPORT THEM IN KIND! VOLUNTEER FOR THEM, WORK FOR THEM.

    Shit. I hate to shout, but I am *sick* and *tired* of this bullshit. When will people wake up and pay attention? Most of "citizens" could probably name all the "Dancing with the stars" contestants, but would have no idea who their congressman is. More motherfuckers voted for "American Idol" than in the last election!

    • The trouble is that the vast bulk of Americans are so (dumb|undereducated) that you can easily persuade them to vote for whoever by spending money on TV ads.

      This is why money counts.

  • 700 pages? F that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daeg ( 828071 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:49AM (#21379437)
    A 700 page bill is akin to me doing a 700 file commit to SVN. There's no way in hell any manager should approve that large of a change. Either break it down into 5 page commits as individual pieces that can be debated and passed/rejected one-by-one, or get the fuck out of Congress. They are just giving ammo to non-Democrats. Remember how no one "read" the Patriot Act? This is the same deal.

    Passing a bill without reading and understanding it should be treated as treason, plain and simple. Don't like it? Don't run for Congress or don't vote on the bill. Period.
    • But then your against affordable college because you didn't support the bill. You dont want to be anti afford ability do you?

      Then ypour opponent will use that as ammo to run against you.
    • Require a Quorum to be there as all of the bill are read *out loud* before voting on them.

      Would solve a ton of issues quickly, and make congress slow down.
    • by mbone ( 558574 )
      Basically all bills are comparably long, and have been at least for my lifetime. And, yes, it is routinely abused, and, yes, bills are routinely passed without being read in their entirety.
  • to see the plans of the universities to deter the threats on science and reason, like the ID-movement.
  • Seriously, people do like downloading files, but many more appear to be happy to browse sites like youtube [] and its clones for videos, and imeem [] and it's blossoming collection of immitators for their music needs - not to mention the various agregator sites. Why download a client, share your bandwidth and put yourself at risk from getting sued by the RIAA/MPAA or at risk from wierd viruses from the sofware you're downloading when you can just upload your media to a website and proclaim to the world that you l
  • of why centralized government funding of things is generally a bad idea.

    When the Federal government becomes the source of significant funding for education, it also automatically becomes a magnet for those who wish to impose their will on the educational system -- whether related to the educational process or not.

    It works everywhere. For example, states have to bow to the Federal government in the design of their roads and driver's licenses and what-have-you because otherwise they risk losing the reb
  • sneaker net (Score:5, Insightful)

    by queequeg1 ( 180099 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:14PM (#21379785)
    I wonder if forcing college kids to use sneaker net will increase or reduce the problem. I have actually become scared by the RIAA's tactics, even though I would occassionally download only a song or two (who wants to pay a $3,000 settlement for downloading a few cheesy 80s tunes). So, to avoid getting caught, I asked a neighbor for a copy of some of his 80s tunes. He brought over an external hard drive with everything he has, totalling over 700GB (more than 17,000 flac files). Too many to go through before giving the drive back so I just copied the entire drive. I have since listened to much more than I originally intended to get from my neighbor.

    I have to wonder if, given how inexpensive external drives are and how close college students live to one another, forcing people into a mode where the standard is to share thousands (or tens of thousands) of songs in a single transaction is an effective way to reduce piracy. Sure, the number of people who do this might shrink, but the number of songs pirated might go up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Narbo ( 11006 )
      Its not that uncommon. I am more tech savvy then my friends and have been accumulating for years and years now. My buddies know this and its not uncommon for them to wander over with an external drive which I am only too happy to fill up for them.

      Its not that they don't buy music. Like me they will buy stuff to support the artists they like however this is a good way to get old tracks that are really hard to buy and also a great way to discover new music. The net effect is more of a win for the music in
  • by devjj ( 956776 ) * on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:45PM (#21380213)

    I just contacted my rep. It took all of five minutes to write this up. Have YOU contacted yours? Speak up, or this thing WILL be passed as-is.

    Mr. Flake,

    I am writing to you with regard to provisions in the proposed College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 that, among other things, would require institutions of higher education to implement strict anti-piracy measures that may include implementing filtering software and/or subscription music services for students. I believe voting Yea on such a bill would be a tremendous error in judgment. Funding for educational institutions should never be tied to commercial enterprise in this way.

    History has proven conclusively that no filtering implementation is perfect, and literally each and every time software such as this is implemented people find a way around it. Furthermore, implementing software of this kind is prohibitively expensive, and would place an unfair burden on our already financially strapped educational institutions. It would be a grave disservice to students, faculty, and citizens alike to force the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and others to spend large sums of money on unproven technology when teachers are leaving because of pay that is less than competitive.

    Additionally, forcing schools to sign up students for subscription music services, or requiring schools to purchase a site-wide license for such services, is an extraordinarily short-sighted "solution." The access to said services does not conclusively lead to lower piracy rates, and restricts competition in this emerging market. Requiring a campus to sign up for Rhapsody is not fair to Napster (and vice versa). Furthermore, these services rely on Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes which are not universally compatible. In a day and age when increasing numbers of students are not running a version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, it would be a serious disservice to require these students to pay for something they will not be able to use. Microsoft DRM-protected content is only accessible from Windows and devices built for it, which leaves users of Apple's Mac OS X and all Linux distributions out. These services are not compatible with the most popular portable media playing device sold today, the iPod, and students cannot and should not be expected to pay to replace said devices. This, again, would amount to a restriction on competition.

    In short, this legislation is poorly conceived and the only people who stand to benefit from it in its current form are record company executives and purveyors of filtering software. There is no question that the illegal distribution and consumption of copyrighted content is a problem; however, this legislation will not solve that problem. It will increase costs for taxpayers. It will discriminate against users whose computers are not running Windows. It will require extremely costly investments from educational institutions that are already struggling with their bills.

    It is in Arizona's better interests that this legislation be defeated, or modified to remove these provisions. As a graduate of the University of Arizona, I can tell you firsthand that our state's schools cannot afford to be forced down this path.

    Sincerely yours,
    Joseph [DELETED]

    (My rep's name is Jeff Flake.. I wasn't insulting the guy.)

  • ... that they already do this for marijauana, through Section 438 of the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 ?

    Here is a PDF legal brief [] on this.

    If they can do it in one case they can do it in every case.
  • by ToxicBanjo ( 905105 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:49PM (#21380279)

    As long as a corporation can buy the laws it wants others to follow the country is heading for ruin (or already there).

    The difference here is that as much as we bitch about it nothing really gets done to change it... it's very much drowned in apathy. Especially when the stigma to the layman is that if you oppose this then you ARE a distributor of illegal "insert whatever here". We seriously need to see forward thinking education to the masses on why this is such a bad idea. Same as the DMCA and other "let's get it through fast" legislation. They introduce these bills & laws without fully understanding what they are doing or the REAL affect it will have on society. We need to reach the layman and let them know WTF is going on. It's great to share bitch-fests with other techies on /. but my mother, cousin Jenny working at the supermarket, and Bob the mailman down the road need to know why we bitch with so much zeal.

    When is the time to rise up and to do something for real change? We are the people that have a deep inside knowledge of this matter, maybe it's time to "hack the planet" and get the message out to more than just our own SIGs.

  • by businessnerd ( 1009815 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @01:23PM (#21380713)
    Are we seriously still harping on the whole "college kids are the only people who pirate content" issue? Because it's pretty outdated now. That whole trend happened fast and then began to taper off really quick. The reason? Well, when Napster (the real one) hit the scene and blew the p2p doors wide open, not everyone had a broadband connection in their home. Colleges and Universities, on the other hand, had some of the fastest connections around. Broadband was the key here. It may not seem like it nowadays, but mp3's were big. It would take me at least a half hour or more to download one song on my dial-up connection (on a good day), and that was one at a time. At the same time, my older sister, who was in college, could start a download, begin listening to it while it downloads, and the download would finish before she's done listening. Essentially a feux-stream. It wasn't even until a few years later that dsl was available in my area and it was still expensive and unreliable. I had one friend who got it at his house and we pretty much spent all of our spare time over there downloading music and eventually movies, tv shows, and music videos when the p2p clients evolved enough. When we weren't infringing copyright, we were playing online video games like Team Fortress. But this activity was isolated to only this kids house. When we weren't there, we could not do these things because no one else had broadband. Then I went to college. All of a sudden, me and a good 75% of the rest of the freshman population had 24hr access to high speed internet for the first time. We all had something downloading at all times. Not because we wanted to deliberately rip off the music and movie industry, but just because we could. It's like when you get your driver's license. You may not have anywhere to go, but you'll go out for a drive anyway. Just because you can. Anyhow, soon the residential broadband market caught up. Cable internet was more affordable, DSL was more widely available and much more reliable (I know Verizon improved the DSL scene in my area greatly). So now it wasn't just the college kids who had unlimited access to all of the content they wanted for free. Furthermore, the college networks are no longer the fastest out there. Technology improved, but also the college networks were choked with all of the massive downloading (damn tubes!).

    So where are we now? Well, everyone, college and non-college folk alike, have the same unfettered access to p2p technology. What they decide to do with that technology is not determined by whether they are on a college campus or not. In fact, once that initial hype over being able to download anything in seconds subsided, I became much more selective about what I downloaded. This was the case with many people I knew. After a while, you start to ask yourself, "Do I really NEED to download this?" where before it didn't matter if you needed to, you just did anyway, because you could. At the same time, the **AA was rattling their sabers over lawsuits and iTunes hit a level of maturity. People began go legit in droves. So is college any different than anyone else?

    So some may argue that college campuses do a lot of incestuous p2p sharing. Where someone sets up a Direct Connect server and the massive student population just shares among themselves. Well yes this happens, but it's not as widespread as you may think. First and foremost, this activity violates many schools network use policies. P2p servers are also easy to spot because you notice 90% of the schools bandwidth is being taken up by a single ip address on the third floor of a dormitory. This means that a p2p server will not last long, as the IT department will either block the traffic or just outright revoke that individuals internet privileges. Even early on when p2p hit big, a lot of schools banned p2p apps from their networks. This was usually a futile effort because once a new app came out, everyone jumped on the new one and the game of cat and mouse began.


Garbage In -- Gospel Out.