File-Sharing Could Get University Funding Cut?

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So as state-funded university tuition rises faster than the inflation rate, grants are becoming nonexistent, and students are actually looking abroad to complete their education cheaper and in half the time, Congressmen cozy with the RIAA are threatening to cut their funding more if they don’t play ball with the recording labels.

The latest in corporatism comes via the Consumerist and CNet.

The Consumerist highlights Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who’s taken a hard-line stance against peer-to-peer file sharing, especially in regard to federally funded universities. It just so happens, Sony, Fox, Time Warner, Universal Music, Viacom, and Disney are major campaign contributors.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Except that Feeney and others are leaning on universities to get better at cracking down on file-sharing on their networks. Otherwise, risk losing funding. He makes the argument that it doesn’t make sense for a Congress that is tough on intellectual property rights to be soft on schools it helps support that violate those rights.

Sigh. Sounds like something straight out of a record company list of talking points, doesn’t it?

Just change that around a bit and you can make a case that university cafeterias shouldn’t have kitchen knives because somebody might use one to stab a coworker. Just because students are using file-sharing systems on university networks, it doesn’t mean they’re doing something illegal, or that the university is causing and/or promoting it.

The Consumerist quotes Greg Jackson of the University of Chicago, who wins the quip of the week:

So long as the right thing remains more daunting, awkward and unsatisfying than the wrong thing, too many people will do the wrong thing.

Remind me to get over to Chicago so I can try and snatch the pebble from Jackson’s hand.

People, at least a fair percentage a fair percentage of the time, do something sketchy, especially at universities, where binge-drinking, promiscuity, and all-around hedonism seem the rule and not the exception.

But do we penalize the educational institution for what the kids will do anyway?

It’s nice to see Feeney is concentrating on redirecting money away from where it’s wasted on forging young minds, and putting it to use on more fruitful pursuits – say, in Baghdad. 

File-Sharing Could Get University Funding Cut?
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  • Bocal

    Another case of Congressional Imunity allowing Laws being passed that are out and out BLACKMAIL

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