November 9, 2007 5:41 PM PST
Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else
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The MPAA's Martinez did warn that the consequences of violating the proposed rules would be stiff: "Because it is added to the current reporting requirements that universities already have through the Secretary of Education, it would have the same penalties for noncompliance as any of the others requirements under current law."
Neither the Recording Industry Association of America nor the Association of American Universities was available for comment on Friday.
Expanding on an earlier anti-P2P plan
The two Democratic politicians behind Friday's bill are Reps. George Miller from California and Ruben Hinojosa of Texas. Miller is chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and Hinojosa is chairman of the higher education subcommittee.
They said in a press release that the legislation, called the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, or COAA, will be voted on by the full committee next week.
The peer-to-peer sections of COAA appear to be a revision of an amendment originally proposed over the summer by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to his chamber's sweeping higher education reauthorization bill.
Groups like the American Association of Universities and Educause attacked Reid's proposal at the time, saying it was incredibly worrisome because it would have yanked federal grants and loans from students who attend schools that don't do enough to prevent illegal file sharing.
The old language over the summer required schools to develop "a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property." The new language requires "a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity."
Reid's bill also would have required the Secretary of Education to devise a list of the 25 schools with the highest levels of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing, based on entertainment industry statistics. That's not in the new COAA legislation.
On the Senate side, after universities raised a fuss, the contentious amendment was eventually diluted to a requirement that higher education institutions merely advise their students, in writing, of the legal consequences of "unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material" and what steps the school was taking to combat such activities.
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