House Approves Bill To Require Universities To Offer Students Music Services

from the mandatory-Napster? dept

Late last year, we wrote about a bill that would put pressure on universities to put in place an official approved music subscription service or risk losing federal financial aid support for students. This is a bizarre piece of legislation, as it effectively props up Napster and RealNetworks by basically requiring universities to sign up for such a service, even if they don’t want to. Despite widespread criticism of the bill, the House has now approved it, even leaving out a promised amendment promising that failure to obey wouldn’t threaten financial aid. Supporters of the bill claim that it wouldn’t actually be used to cut off financial aid, but if that’s the case, why include it in this bill at all? It would basically be a requirement without any repercussions for ignoring. At the same time, no one has clearly explained why universities should be required to sign up for a private music subscription offering. What possible public policy reason could there be for such a thing?

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Companies: napster, realnetworks

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Comments on “House Approves Bill To Require Universities To Offer Students Music Services”

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30 Comments
BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Public Policy

> To ensure that their networks are not used
> to facility illegal behavior?

Well, if that’s what you think is the public policy basis for this law, then it’s still a mystery why this law is necessary, since the law does nothing to stop illegal file-sharing.

The fact that my university is forced to sign up for Napster doesn’t mean I as a student am going to *use* it. I could still just as easily use Bitorrent or Limewire or some other unapproved service.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re:

And the students can’t download movies? How about software? Is the MPAA going to force a law requiring netflix subscriptions? How about a mandatory MSDN subscription for all students? This still won’t stop anyone from downloading illegal music. What if someone has an iPod or some other non-napster/rapcity player? Do the universities have to pay the $0.99 to use the song on a device that is for that service?

Sorry for the small rant but this is just a really stupid law.

In case someone doesn’t know, an MSDN subscription allows the user to download pretty much anything made by Microsoft with a monthly fee of about $2000. (It’s how I got Vista)

Jezsik says:

I'm gunna be RICH!

I think I’ll start a music subscription service. I’ll charge each university a thousand bucks a year to enable all their students to stream as much music as they want. The schools will LEAP at my offer because it’s so inexpensive. I don’t think I’ll need too much bandwidth because the music will consist of 78’s recorded from gramophones.

Dolf says:

what a sham

I think there’s one thing that we can all agree on is that we need to fire pretty much everybody in government, wipe the slate clean, and start fresh. There are so many inconsistent, idiotic laws that it blows the mind. What amazes me is that we consistently see the same schmucks in the same office for decades. Let them know laws like this will not be tolerated, vote!

Scott Spinola (user link) says:

The inevitable result of a runaway government

This is an astoundingly absurd law, but we only have ourselves to blame. We ask Congress to fix every little ache and pain in our society so why wouldn’t they stick their noses in this too? You cannot have a selectively big government. It will either pervade your entire life or it won’t.

There are exactly 18 things that Congress is ALLOWED to do according to the Constitution (Article I Section 8) yet somehow they’ve managed (at our demand) to insinuate themselves into every conceivable area of life. Section 8 does not include a single mention of music or sports yet we have this absurd law and congressional hearings on steroids in baseball. It says nothing of health care or education yet we have untold numbers of laws regulating (and ruining) those industries. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Jefferson, Washington, Madison, et. al. had in mind when they crafted our amazing elegant Constitution.

Our country abandoned its constitutional foundation years ago so this should surprise no one.

another mike says:

whiskey tango foxtrot

Nevermind the public policy reason for this bill. What’s the business case for requiring a music subscription? Universities are in the business of educating their customers, not supplying them with industry approved music.
At what point does the dumb pipe lose its safe harbors protection? How many services can they pile on before they are liable for their user’s actions?

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