Sunday, May 13, 2007

Universities studied by Congress

Last week, the Ranking member of the House Judiciary committee (Lamar S. Smith, Republican, Texas 21st Website) and the Chairman of the subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property (Howard L. Berman, Democrat California’s 28th Website [2]) wrote to a dozen or so universities, with detailed questions asking about their handling of intellectual property and the university network systems. They were joined by Howard Coble (R-NC), Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-NC) and George Miller (D-CA)

They say they expect a reply by the end of May. “By answering the survey, universities will be required to examine how they address piracy on their campuses.” One of the universities targeted for the letter was University of Wisconsin at Madison, which had previously told the MPAA that it would not forward on the organizations threatening letters to its students. It was later joined by others in the U of W system. The universities were chosen after Mr. Bermans. Subcommittee asked the MPAA for a list of the 25 campuses receiving the most notices.

Of course, what the 5 representatives fail to understand is, no matter how many prosecutions take place, the problem will not go away. This isn’t like treating cholera – dealing with the symptoms won’t eventually defeat the problem. The underlying cause needs to be addressed, and that’s unlikely to happen, certainly not when they’re using one of the major causes of the problem, the MPAA, as their major sources of information and direction. Indeed, in the first 2 minutes of a hearing held by the subcommittee: “An Update – Piracy on University Networks” in early March, figures from the LEK study were quoted - the same study which no-one outside LEK/MPAA knows how the figures are developed and arrived at.

ben Jones

Related links
MPAA press release here

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