JSP Scope

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

JSP Student Larisa Mann's Blog posting on the New Anti-File Sharing Law that Endangers Funding for Higher Education Gets National Attention

Writing on the youth news website "WireTape Magazine", JSP student Larisa Mann addresses a recent bill reported out of committee in the House that would use federal educational funds to compel universities and colleges to take proactive measures to discourage illegal student file sharing.

Glory be, the big copyright owners have found yet another way to threaten students' access to education -- this time by going for the biggest support of higher education -- federal funding.

On Nov 22 the House Education and Labor Committee approved H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (COAA). The name sounds like something everyone can support -- but the devil is truly in the details.

Page 411 of this 747-page bill is "Section 494(A): CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION" wherein the bill's meaning takes a serious detour from its title. To prevent college students from illegally accessing copyrighted material, the section says all schools shall (when you see the word "shall" in a law, it's a requirement, not a suggestion):

1) Have "a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property"


2) Have "a plan to explore technology based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”

Read the full posting on WireTap Magazine.

Larisa's posting has been reprinted (or reposted) on the webpage of the Nation and in the Chicago Tribune.


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