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September 27, 2006

House Education Committee Hearing Yesterday [8:21 am]

Press release: Higher Education, Entertainment Industry Witnesses Detail Impact of, Efforts to Combat Internet Piracy on College Campuses; webcast archive of the hearing; eventually, an electronic version of the testimony may be available here, but for now, I need to rely upon Inside Higher Ed’s House Panel Tackles Piracy which at least highlights Terry Fisher’s comments:

But William W. Fisher, director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, said that preventing students from illegally downloading is nearly impossible: Once a college has outlawed a filing sharing system, another one comes along that is harder to detect.

Colleges should focus their energy on providing legal alternatives for students, and more than 70 have, Fisher said. In 2003, Pennsylvania State University struck a deal with Napster so that students could have access to a catalogue of copyrighted music. Another option, he said, is for colleges to charge students a mandatory fee that goes toward purchasing music that students in the network can share for free.

[...] Still, Fisher said some colleges are reluctant to get involved in matters of Internet piracy because they are concerned about violating students’ privacy.

Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, said entertainment industry executives aren’t asking colleges to spy illegally, but rather to work within their boundaries to weed out guilty parties.

I’m sure that’s what we’re all telling ourselves when we talk about warrantless wiretapping, too… (related: Deal Likely on Detainees but Not on Wiretapping)

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