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WASHINGTON — Legislation renewing the nation’s higher-education programs includes language sought by the studios that pushes the nation’s colleges to toughen campus anti-piracy measures.
Deep in the Higher Education Act introduced Friday by House Education and Labor Committee chairman Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., are provisions that direct colleges and universities to step up anti-piracy efforts; instruct the schools to develop alternatives to illegal downloading, including technology that blocks illegal downloads; and give the education secretary authority to fund prevention, education and blocking solutions to reduce and eliminate the illegal downloading and distribution of intellectual property.
College students often are the most egregious illegal downloads, and they often get access to the peer-to-peer networks where much online piracy occurs through the high-speed connections that institutions of higher learning usually allow their students to use for free.
“Intellectual property theft is a worldwide problem that hurts our economy and costs more than 140,000 American jobs every year,” MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. “We are pleased to see that Congress is taking this step to help keep our economy strong by protecting copyrighted material on college campuses.”
The MPAA’s most recent data shows that the U.S. motion picture industry lost $6.1 billion to piracy in 2005. About 44% of the industry’s domestic losses — more than $500 million annually — are attributed to college students illegally sharing files over P2P networks.
“We have been working closely with the higher-education community and value that partnership because we are all in this together,” Glickman said. “Illegal downloading doesn’t just hurt the motion picture and music industries, but it can also be harmful to universities as it puts their systems at risk for security purposes, takes up bandwidth and slows systems that are designed for research and other educational purposes.”
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