Techdirt is off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Hide

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?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2008 @ 8:56am

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

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

    • identicon
      BTR1701, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:23am

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Chronno S. Trigger, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:25am

      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)

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

    • identicon
      Gunnar, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      So why don't ISPs have to do the same thing?

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:39am

      Re:

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

      Can you explain how this law does that? Because I don't see that at all.

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

  • icon
    Steve R. (profile), 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:31am

    Less Regulation in Action!

    Businesses, so they say, want to throw off the shackles of onerous government regulation since it destroys free enterprise. So what do business actually due, they buy legislation from the Congressional supermarket to guarantee a revenue stream. I guess the concept of free enterprise really translates to corporate welfare.

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

  • identicon
    mike allen, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:42am

    cant see haow this will work

    A lot of students dont live on campus and have a independent internet link or seperate ISP not on the university network. So how is this going to stop students being able to use unautherised sites.

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

  • identicon
    Gaye Hukel, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:51am

    can you spell L O B B Y

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

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:57am

    Signs you might need new Representatives

    1) They pass laws screwing over the educational system of the country because the recording industry said, "will you if we line your pockets?", and they reply "yes".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2008 @ 10:11am

    Wow. Fantastic busineesmodel!

    It's only a matter of time before the liquor lobby does the same!

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

  • identicon
    Tom, 8 Feb 2008 @ 10:30am

    We're a nation of ignorant sheep led by corrupt fools. What did you expect?

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

  • identicon
    Jezsik, 8 Feb 2008 @ 10:32am

    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.

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

  • icon
    Nick (profile), 8 Feb 2008 @ 10:43am

    @11

    Great point! What happens if all of the sudden there is a massive trend in college students that get their own wine or beer processing kits and use them in their dorms? Anheuser-Busch or Seagram is going to buy legislation requiring that universities pay for free booze because of bootlegging?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2008 @ 11:02am

    You say it yourself, you can't stop pirating, so just get people to pay for music in different ways. Hell, maybe they actually do listen to the "free" model. This is just another one of those things that take advantage of free.

    You really don't think free is free, do you?

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

  • identicon
    Zubin, 8 Feb 2008 @ 11:30am

    Set up

    At the risk of sounding paranoid, if this were to become law, it would just be a set up to allow certain people to deny education to others. It really has nothing to do with music per se, and has everything to do with control of higher education in the country.

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

  • identicon
    Dolf, 8 Feb 2008 @ 11:42am

    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!

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

  • identicon
    Scott Spinola, 8 Feb 2008 @ 3:02pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2008 @ 3:32pm

      Re: The inevitable result of a runaway government

      The good news is there's a clear opportunity to make some money selling "George Bush Toilet Paper". It's coarse, doesn't absorb well, and has the Constitution printed right on it.

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

    • identicon
      BTR1701, 9 Feb 2008 @ 5:24am

      Re: The inevitable result of a runaway government

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

      Very well said.

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

  • identicon
    Stefan, 8 Feb 2008 @ 9:01pm

    Uhm, a bit ridiculous.

    Give'em an inch, and they'll take a mile. Once they get their foot in the door, they'll attempt to pry it wide open. Absurd, I say.

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

  • identicon
    Trevlac, 9 Feb 2008 @ 8:15am

    The only equally bizarre answer I could have to this news is that possibly they are trying to prevent the downloading of viruses/spyware by giving college students the music they will find a way to pirate on unsafe peer to peer networks.

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

  • identicon
    Anon, 9 Feb 2008 @ 8:22am

    I thought a little bit of how ridiculous laws have become in recent years, particularly in very recent times. I do hope the Federal Government has taken a history class or two because laws like these cause people to massively rise up against their governments.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2008 @ 6:13pm

    RE: MSDN

    Why not just get the Action Pack from Microsoft which costs $259 per year ang gives you 10 legit licenses of most MS products including servers, office, and OS?

    Some ppl will never learn!

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

  • identicon
    :HAn., 10 Feb 2008 @ 7:58am

    Isn't this the kind of business practice that got the Mafia in all sorts of trouble?

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

  • identicon
    another mike, 11 Feb 2008 @ 12:47pm

    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?

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.