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Witnesses Tell Congress Colleges Aren't Doing Enough to Stop Illegal File Sharing

October 4, 2006

Colleges are not doing enough to combat illegal music and video file sharing on campus according to testimony from entertainment industry officials at a recent Congressional hearing on the matter. Citing factors such as privacy and academic freedom concerns, institutions have been slow to adopt the industry-preferred solution of campus-wide legal download service contracts coupled with software blocking the use of peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

Officials from the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have indicated that they would resume a program of suing students directly for copyright violations from illegal file sharing using campus networks. The industry associations had suspended their high profile lawsuits when some campuses began implementing legal music and video download services for their students while at the same time blocking peer-to-peer usage on campus. Since peer-to-peer networking is not illegal, some legitimate uses were prevented as well.

Industry representatives have suggested that colleges and universities be required to periodically update Congress on their progress toward combating illegal downloading and sharing of copyrighted works.

The full testimony from the September 26 hearing of the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness is available on the subcommittee’s web site.