It is well-known that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been trying to protect the major music labels for years. Let’s take a moment to recall the RIAA going after a 12 year old, and most recently a homeless man. With an economic recession looming (and record sales likely to continue falling), the RIAA is continuing to seek solutions to protect the industry – now going after universities:
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Hollywood-backed proposal buried in a higher education reauthorization bill that would require universities receiving federal financial aid funding to devise plans for “alternative” offerings to unlawful downloading–such as subscription-based services–or “technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”
That otherwise wide-ranging bill won’t become law until House and Senate politicians agree upon a compromise version. Meanwhile, the debate over the proper role of higher education institutions in fighting piracy has shifted to some state legislatures.
Should universities be servants to the RIAA and act as copyright police? No, I don’t think so. I don’t see how this could be enforced. I am not alone in thinking that either:
University representatives like Educause and fair use advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation oppose mandatory use of so-called “infringement suppression” technologies–such those made by Red Lambda, SafeMedia, and Audible Magic–because of the cost and perceived flaws associated with those products.
I become convinced more and more each time I hear these stories about the RIAA, that it is really the most evil of entities. It would be one thing if they were helping musicians get richer. Let’s not kid ourselves though, musicians may be hurt some, but it’s really the tyrants of the music world that are trying to keep their riches.