Monday, November 17, 2008

RIAA Wins, Campuses Lose as Tennessee Governor Signs Campus Network Filtering Law

I hope I understood this article correctly. A new law in Tenessee states:

Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall:
[R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year.

Its a ridiculous law that basically says if enough valid copywrite infringements are found on campus internet networks then the school is required to take measures to attempt to elimiate it. Schools are being forced to spend nearly 10 million dollars on equipment, staff, and software, and then recurring costs around 1.5 million dollars. The money is going directly to the RIAA and not to any of the artists or record labels that the RIAA claims to represent.

The money is being wasted on systems that aren't going to work instead of being put towards perhaps legalizing file sharing and other acts that for some unknown reason to us, are illegal. These systems won't work because it is just as easy for students to swap CDs or flash drives hand-to-hand as it is to share files on the internet. And as always, there is always someone who finds a way to beat the system.

Instead of giving in to the RIAAs silly law proposals, other schools that are being targeted should really just ignore it instead of giving up and filtering the network. Network filtering hinders progress and because of the concetration and focus spent on that, there is less wiggle room for learning and teaching and in general, academic freedom. This article also urges universities to band together and create a collective licencing proposal in order to protect campus communities.


ervolsen said...

"Schools are being forced to spend nearly 10 million dollars on equipment, staff, and software"

I completely agree with you, this is crazy - what a waste of resources! The RIAA is really going too far.

Catherine Malcolm said...

Agreed, what a waste of money. I'd understand if the money being used to counter illegal acts would actually make a difference, but the main fact is, is that it's just a worthless cause. I do not agree in doing something, let alone throwing away money, just for the sake of pleasing an image or thought provoked by somebody else.