HEA Reauthorization Amendment To Crack Down on University File Sharing

[Editor's note: This article is being maintained for archival purposes. The anti-file sharing amendment to the HEA has been dropped from the reauthorization bill. --Dave Nagel]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to introduce a new amendment to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act requiring a number of universities to police and report uses of illegal file sharing on its campuses.

If the new amendment passes, the Secretary of Education will create an annual report for Congress outlining which 25 Universities have received the most copyright infringement notices. These Universities will then have to come up with and report a plan of action on how stop copyright infringement on their campuses.

A number of higher education groups, including the American Council of Education and the Association of American Universities, are opposed to the amendment. Educause, an association for information technology in higher education, and the Digital Freedom Campaign are lobbying against the amendment, saying that the act makes Congress and higher educations institutions agents of the entertainment industry.

"This amendment is the just latest in a series of legislative efforts by wealthy record labels to require our tax dollars to be spent on policing college students," said Jennifer Stoltz, a spokesperson for the Digital Freedom Campaign.

"No one supports illegal downloading or file-sharing, but the Digital Freedom Campaign and its members believe that universities have more urgent things to do with their scarce budgets than collect information on their students for the government and for the RIAA. Academic resources would be better spent educating students rather than spying on them at the behest of large corporations."

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