Congress Critters Threaten To Pass Laws Forcing Universities To Obey RIAA
from the money-well-spent dept
It appears that the money the RIAA is spending on campaign donations is well spent, however. With the universities not falling into line as expected, Congress held hearings where various politicians blasted universities for not taking a more proactive stance and threatening to withhold federal money from universities that don't play by the RIAA's rules. The quotes are stunning for both their ignorance and clear bias from the start. It starts off with Science and Technology Committee Chair Bart Gordon saying that it's not just about royalties: "It clogs campus networks and interferes with the educational and research mission of universities." Whether or not that's true is debatable, but isn't it up to the universities, not Congress, to decide what to do about it?
Then there was Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner claiming that file sharing "[drives] up the cost of education" without offering a shred of evidence that this is true. Even so, there are lots of things that drive up the cost of education (textbooks and good professors for example), and no one's complaining about them. Then, when two university representatives gently tried to note the problems with filtering technology (it doesn't work very well, has many more costs in terms of managing, blocks perfectly legitimate uses and can damage the network) while also daring to point out that this is really a business model issue for the entertainment industry, our wonderful Congressional representatives "accused them of not taking seriously the viability of technological solutions." Who do you think understands the viability of technological solutions better? The chief information officer for the University of Chicago or a bunch of politicians? It seems clear they had no interest in actually hearing about why such technologies have additional costs, and only wanted to make it known that they were going to start withholding money, no matter what the unintended consequences.