MPAA Explains Why It's Okay To Tie Federal Funds To Blocking File Sharing

from the because-we-say-so,-dammit dept

While Congress' new bill on education funding may not be as bad as some are making it out to be, it still seems quite questionable that Congress appears to be regulating the idea that universities need to do the kind of marketing and educational campaigns that the recording industry cannot. We've asked supporters of the bill to explain how it could possibly make sense to mandate such things, and the MPAA's top lawyer, Fritz Attaway, has given his answer, claiming that it's because the internet is "used primarily to allow college students to traffic in infringing content," while being subsidized by gov't funds. It would be nice if Attaway or someone else at the MPAA could actually back up the claim that the primary use of the internet by students is infringement. While I wouldn't doubt that it's a popular use, to say that it's the primary use is hard to believe -- unless you count things like visiting Facebook pages, using Google and sending emails as "infringement." At the same time, this doesn't seem to support the reasons for this bill. After all, many kids on college campuses own cars -- and I'd imagine that most of those students break the speed limit frequently enough. Yet, we don't see any bills being proposed in Congress that would prevent financial aid funding unless universities start handing out more speeding tickets and put in place plans to offer public transportation. So why should they do that for copyright infringement?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    How do these people get elected to Congress? I just don't understand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    Campaign Finance Reform

    This is why we need campaign finance reform. We should allow individuals to contribute to the campaign of their choice, but all corporate donations should be placed in a general fund. I understand that corporations are important, but shouldn't the vote of their employees be enough of a voice? Should companies be allowed to influence a politician with a big check and a wish list?

    If your strategy as an entertainment company is to influence government to crack down on tv/music/movie downloads to increase your profit margins, then something is wrong. Make a product worth buying, and it will be sucessfull.

    I'll gladly pay my hard earned tax dollars to give everyone health insurance, but not to police the internet and invade privacy.

    The success of an entertainment company should be determined by the quality of their products, not by the sleazyness of their legal team.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    matt, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    clearly they lack research

    obviously it must be hard to understand for the MPAA and RIAA that maybe people don't just use the internet for piracy, if only there were a way they could be called on their bogus statements. Isn't it lovely how people are supposed to believe that the power is in the people when there is 0 that can be done about this? I had 150 people send letters to my senator and not 1 got a reply.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:05am

    Don't forget that students pay tuition and fees; therefore, are paying for the services they receive, including the use of the internet at many colleges and universities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:29am

    Beat them at their own game...

    Attach riders to the bill. Put one on there that ties financial aid for universities to the traffic records of the students. For that matter, tie financial aid for students to the traffic records of the students. It's also well known that college students like to drink and do drugs. So we could proabably tack on a rider that also restricts financial aid from universities that don't regularly test students for drug and alcohol abuse too. We could probably come up with a few other ridiculous riders that follow the same pattern, and eventually the intent of the bill would be buried by it's ridiculousness, causing it to be voted down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Gunnar, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:36am

    I know I was thrilled when my $79 per semester technology fee at Penn State went to one of Napster's pilot programs rather than installing the infrastructure that would let the college lift it's paltry 1.5 gig per week limit on uploads and downloads (which at the speeds they allowed could be used up in less than a minute) from the dorm rooms.

    They imposed those limits in 2002 or 2003 and, as far as I know, still are in place. That's probably the only effective way to halt internet use, infringing or otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    mdmadph (profile), Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    Re: Beat them at their own game...

    Jesus, man -- I get your point, but don't give them too many ideas. :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    pcdrx2k, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    another moron talking to the morons in charge...an

    ("MPAA's top lawyer, Fritz Attaway, has given his answer, claiming that it's because the internet is used primarily to allow college students to traffic in infringing content, while being subsidized by gov't funds.")

    Another reason people shouldn't be allowed into Law School unless they can successfully demonstrate that their brains works before their mouths open.

    Anyone know of an impending bus crash off a really tall mountain? I'd like to buy that idiot a seat on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    el-mac, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Re:

    this is what you get when you let stupid people vote. You get stupid people in office; and they let stupid stuff happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Pat, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 11:01am

    Measured by bandwidth used

    Didn't RTFA, but if measured by bandwidth used, the downloading of audio and video, as well as software, could easily be considered the "primary use" of the internet. While i have no statistics to back this us, we all know that the vast majority of audio and video downloads are not done legally.

    Page views are insignificant in terms of bandwidth. So are emails. Torrents, and file sharing services of all kinds, including usenet and irc, tend towards downloading huge files. Remember what Mark Twain said ... There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Wolfger, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 11:25am

    Primary by way of traffic quantity

    I'm sure they're measuring use not by frequency of the action (because then wikipedia and web-mail would be much larger than p2p), but by total quantity of transfer on an action, where one movie is greater volume than a month of e-mails and research.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    How do these people get elected to Congress? I just don't understand.

    Electronic Voting Machines :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    bmac (profile), Nov 20th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Internet's primary use

    Come on! Everyone knows the primary use for the Internet is pr0n.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 20th, 2007 @ 12:14pm

    Re Overcast

    Again another brilliant reply.
    Lol, I love it.
    However, I have a feeling for a few of the cases it is seriously true.

    In the case of stupid people voting and getting stupid people in office. Well, I will forego starting an argument over the 'brilliance' of a certain current leader.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Bill, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 12:33pm

    "claiming that it's because the internet is used primarily to allow college students to traffic in infringing content"

    Double-speak. Infringing content can be any web page accessed. Most all people copyright their pages, and you have to copy them to view. Everyone is infringing... the lawyer included!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Mack, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 12:44pm

    unless you count ..(FITB).. as "infringement."

    They do. Now pay up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Allison, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 1:34pm

    I fail to see why it's okay when single mothers are fined $200k for alleged violations, or some kid is put in jail for 10 years for uploading the Star Wars movie because in the wisdom of congress, those people are terrible criminals who are a threat to society. Meanwhile, real organized crime pirates overseas print out counterfeit DVD's and CD's. But those are not the low hanging fruit.

    Somewhere though there is a tipping point, and all these lawsuits and draconian laws will come crashing down on these old line interests. Because, the dirty secret, as we all know, is that the monied interests are all that matters now to congress, and they have long ago stopped listening to the people, but the people at some point will correct that problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Captain Nemo, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 1:46pm

    stupid people?

    How very fascist of you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    corwin155, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 6:48pm

    politicians and corporate execs

    just goes to show you that people at Riaa and mpaa (also congress)think everyones a thief an and if they get their way there will not be a neutral net

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    Abject Moron

    What a fool...I'm fairly sure he knows he's full of shit, but he also knows that congress will buy it.....fool.
    Only one way to correct congress at this point and that's with bullets.
    Oh well, doubt anybody would miss any of them (goes for executive branch too)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Mike Poller, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 8:01pm

    right away, sir!

    We'll take care of that music downloading thing right after we tackle underage drinking, date rape, nooses on professor's doors, water pollution, air pollution, hunger, homelessness, AIDS, global warming, "the credit crunch," the disappearing middle class, and that little ole war in th the middle east... right away, sir! In the meantime, take a number.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    duker, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 6:41am

    mpaa fed funds?

    listen, dingleberries, want to sell CDs to everyone again?

    here is what you do.


    make them all $5


    idiots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 7:06am

    Let the Government do your dirty work

    Once again, the Content industry wants the Government to do all their heavy lifting for them...

    Nothing new.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    belg4mit, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 7:29am

    A saner alternative

    If his stated goal is sincere, a more reasonable alternative would be to mandate that schools separate out an internet access fee, and reduce federal aid to students at that school by the amount of the fee. Problem solved, no more "giant" subsidy on the interest rate of federal loans being used for *any* online activities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Mabry-USA, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 7:48am

    Continued rise of expanded Federal government powe

    I encourage eligible voters to vote for a presidential candidate whose personal philosophy of governance will decrease the liberty quashing expansion of the federal government which is increasingly more indebted to business and industry interests rather than the citizens. It is this "growth" that leads to laws which contains language like the education bill.

    the fed is far too powerful leading to ...

    -the "drug war"
    -the "terror war"
    -"hate crimes"
    -loss of habeas corpus
    -increasing national debt to the tune of $9 trillion
    -spying on Americans without a warrant (4th amendment)
    -taking peoples land and giving it to businesses (kelo vs new london

    and on and on...

    vote for candidates who will stop this criminal nonsense even if "they don't have a chance of winning".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    TheEndIsNear, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 7:59am

    MPAA's death throes

    MPAA and RIAA are dying. Their licensing model is obsolete. Their current attempts are the equivalent of gas light manufacturers asking congress to ban the use of electricity. Anyone can go out and purchase "enabling" technologies at the local electronics store for under $500. And even if they convince congress to take truly, fascistly draconian measures to stop piracy in the USA the reach of these laws will end at the US border. If I were them, I'd fire the lawyers and put my remaining funds into reinventing my industry to promote live entertainment (which by definition cannot be downloaded) and renegotiating contracts for lower rates on published content. People like easy. Make your content cheap and easy to acquire legally and most won't bother to steal it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    How do they get elected to Congress? Lots of other morons vote for them. Don't you know that watching candidates' television campaign ads is all you need to know about them? Sheesh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    tom, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 11:30am

    LOL filesharing

    When will the riaa and the mpaa realize that they're not losing money because of downloading, that they're losing money because of high prices and lousy products? If these college students couldnt download, would they go out and buy them? Very unlikely. Also, people seem to forget that that the RIAA doesnt own the copyrights to all the countrys music..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Joe Voter, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Measured by bandwidth used

    I dont see you running for congress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    JimmyX, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    The more I read of these MPAA/RIAA scumbags and their paid-for laws the less and less I want to be 'legal' in their eyes.
    I've gotten to the point nowadays where I pirate music and movies simply to help in ensureing their demise - but I don't want their suffering to end quickly though, I want them to suffer a slow and agonising defeat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    boomhauer (profile), Nov 21st, 2007 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Continued rise of expanded Federal government

    interpretation: ron paul! ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Liquid Amazing, Nov 22nd, 2007 @ 4:14am

    Screw Them!

    I work in IT at a fairly large University on the edge of the universe and I have news for you folks. I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that the tactics used by the RIAA, MPAA and BSA are crap. They already get Universities to do their dirty work for them in the form of essentially free IT people who are obligated, under some perceived threat of lawsuit, to investigate bogus "John Doe" claims that someone on a University subnet was infringing. At our school we devote approximately one entire FTE to investigating such claims, hauling kids into meetings where we review copyright policy and acceptable use with them, shutting down connections, delivering prelitigation letters, running educational programs, blah blah blah.

    How is it that this industry can coerce a large University into providing essentially free services to them? Fear. The Colleges and Universities must stand up to these bullies. Tell them we will not be their lackies and unless they can provide us with solid evidence that an individual was infringing to go and pound sand. We are an ISP for the students who live here. We are not their parent, nanny, or servant. We provide a service much like dining, housing, parking, etc. Unless they provide similar legislation that will financially impact Comcast for allowing their subscribers to illegally download content...but that will be the day.

    The Universities and Colleges need to band together and demand that we be treated for what we are...a service, just like your home broadband service. We need to tell them to do their own dirty work if they insist upon pursuing this tactic. Better yet, everyone who cares about this issue needs to boycott the big record labels and media conglomerates who are represented by these slimebags. Hit them in the pocketbook.

    BTW - WTG to Harvard and UOregon...you are my heroes!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Stacey, Nov 25th, 2007 @ 9:12pm

    Disgusted

    I never heard of the MPAA, or even knew what a torrent was until I kept seeing it on news sites ect. I am a music lover, I have always been a loyal customer to the music I enjoyed. I think what the MPAA has been able to do is sickening. It is so obvious that the member of Congress who are allowing the tactics to continue are being paid off. I honestly hope they are exposed and someone finds a trail to prove it. I am sick and tired of seeing crooked politics. Congress does not do much for the people anymore. It is all about the donations and that is the way they vote. Anyway, sorry for my rant. I just wanted to say that since I have become aware of this I have stopped buying anything to support any of the MPAA and all alike. I have also passed this message along to everyone I can. It is about time we get what we pay for and not the garbage they keep trying to shove down our throats. I hope the record industry dies and loses. I hope the Universities fight to stop this and if they don't I hope they lose students. Enough is enough, how far can this go before someone says stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This