Removing restrictions could help campuses decrease music piracy

Campuses have seen dramatic drops in illegal file sharing after adopting anti-piracy software.

A group of Rice and Duke university researchers say doing away with Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions could be the next step in fighting illegal downloads on college campuses.

Campus technology officials have used myriad methods to combat the use of college networks to rip copyrighted files from the internet without permission, and while these strategies have often curbed the frequency of illegal downloads, research published Oct. 7 challenges the theory that strict digital restrictions are a surefire way to cut down on piracy and increase profits for rights holders.

Removing DRM restrictions, according to the research, can decrease internet piracy because that makes the “product more convenient to use and intensifies competition with the traditional format (CDs), which has no DRM restrictions.”…Read More

Movie industry to colleges: Remember copyright rules

Federal law requires colleges to devise policies against the illegal downloading of music and movies.

First, it was the recording industry that colleges had to worry about, and now it’s the movie industry, too: Thousands of colleges and universities received a friendly reminder from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) this month, with MPAA officials highlighting a federal law that requires institutions to devise policies against the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.

The letter, signed by Daniel Mandil, senior executive vice president of the MPAA, reiterated that universities must publish a “written plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution” of illegally downloaded movies, TV shows, and music using the campus’s internet connection.

Mandil points out that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), passed by Congress in 2008, requires colleges and universities to create policies against illegal file sharing as a condition to receive federal student aid.…Read More

Supreme Court rejects illegal downloading argument

Recording industry officials have asked campus officials for help in stopping illegal downloading.

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a Texas teenager who got in trouble for illegal downloading of music—a potential blow to students who might claim to be “innocent infringers” of copyright laws after downloading music without paying and bogging down campus networks.

Whitney Harper of Texas acknowledged she used file-sharing programs to download and share three dozen songs, claiming she didn’t know the program she used was taking songs from the internet illegally.

She also said the money she owes the recording industry should be reduced because, as a 16-year-old, she didn’t know that what she did amounted to copyright infringement.…Read More