Anti-Piracy Language Included In College Opportunity and Affordability Act Ignites Fear In Universities
The United States House of Representatives approved the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, a higher-education funding bill whose fine print includes questionable new anti-piracy requirements for universities and colleges who receive funding.
The provision states universities taking part in federal financial aid programs “shall devise plans for alternative offerings to unlawful downloading” and provide “technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”
The 354-58 tally approving the College Opportunity and Affordability Act demonstrates that lawmakers have been influenced by the entertainment industry to include the clause even though it is only a very minor part of the huge 800 page bill. The Association of American Universities, an advocacy group, believes this provision puts the higher-education institutions in a very tight spot since many of the suggestions are difficult to implement and give the impression that schools could risk losing their financial aid for failure to comply.
Lawmakers countered that universities would not lose their government funding if they don’t comply, but the universities feel that it would only take a little more lobbying on behalf of the entertainment industry for officials to threaten their aid, if they can’t control illegal file-sharing.