Congressman Who Took Money From RIAA/MPAA Says Congress Should Cut Funding To Colleges

The RIAA’s campaign contributions are hard at work this week as members of Congress threaten to cut off federal funding to educational institutions if they don’t stop file sharing on their networks.

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) who, in the last election cycle, took money from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner, Universal Music, Viacom, Fox, the RIAA, and The Walt Disney Company, says:

“We’re spending a good deal of federal resources in terms of helping universities with their technological improvements, directly and indirectly,” Feeney said. “Is it responsible for a Congress that wants to protect intellectual property rights to continue to fund network enhancements for universities if some of those enhancements are indirectly being used in fact to promote intellectual property theft?”

We like Greg Jackson, CIO of the University of Chicago, and Illinois State University dean of libraries Cheryl Elzy’s responses:

“So long as the right thing remains more daunting, awkward and unsatisfying than the wrong thing, too many people will do the wrong thing,” Jackson said, referring to the digital rights management technology used widely in legally purchased music files….

“If we rely on technology too much, it’s going to interfere with legal uses of peer-to-peer technologies,” Elzy said. Some of her own library files can be quite large, she added, and “I’d like to not have those blocked.”

According to CNet, “Universities receive tens of billions of dollars a year in federal research money, and the Department of Education handed out $82 billion in 2007 in new grants and loans to students.” —MEGHANN MARCO

Politicos threaten schools over campus piracy [CNet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Wormfather says:

    And what exactly does this have to do with IDT or “The Meltdown”

    We’re not letting up guys.

  2. Notsewfast says:

    Yeah… and drugs are trafficed on Federally funded highways…

    should we stop improving them unless the states clean up the highways?

    … As if public universities weren’t under-funded as it is. This guy should be kicked out of office…

  3. brianala says:

    Not surprising, this guy is seriously shady. This is the same politician implicated in a vote fraud scandal a few years ago by a programmer who claimed he was asked to hep rig voting machines. More information can be found here:

  4. Coder4Life says:

    I cant even stand looking at the guys picutre. Please remove idiots like him from the office.

    People like him just show more and more evidence how easily it is to show a link between 3rd party fundings and those companies getting laws passed they want.

  5. Pelagius says:

    This meathead is also a golfing buddy of a certain Jack Abramoff. Sounds like an all-around quality legislator.

  6. hypnotik_jello says:

    he’s from Florida? Shocking…

  7. royal72 says:

    “those enhancements are INDIRECTLY being used…”

    so therefore we can take away the money you receive from the riaa, because it’s being indirectly used for your luxuries.

  8. Canadian Impostor says:

    It’s almost like he has some sort of ulterior motive.

  9. MeanMachine says:


  10. virgilstar says:

    Yeah, and apparently Universities consume a lot of electricity, and the coal burned to make that electricity contributes to global warming!

    Those well-edumacated academic types are behaving in ways that can only be described as “un-American”. Ship them all off to Gitmo now!

  11. snwbrder0721 says:

    I think it’s time for a “Congressional Representative email carpet bomb”

    Contact info for “Rep (Riaa)” Tom Feeney:


    Write to Feeney here:
    (use 32129 zip if asked and http://www.fakenamegenerator coupled with his FL office address below when prompted)

    Washington Office
    323 Cannon House Office
    Building Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-2706 (202) 226-6299 fax

    Port Orange Office
    1000 City Center Circle, 2nd Floor
    Port Orange, FL 32129
    (386) 756-9798 (386) 756-9903 fax

    Orlando Office
    12424 Research Parkway, Suite 135
    Orlando, FL 32826
    (407) 208-1106 (407) 208-1108 fax

    Titusville Office
    400 South Street, Suite 4-A
    Titusville, FL 32780
    (321) 264-6113 (321) 264-6227

  12. Youthier says:

    I read this article 5 times because I was sure I couldn’t possibly be understanding it correctly.

    To stop illegal downloading, so that companies that make billions of dollars can make more money, they will (or are threatening to) take funding from universities. Is this correct?

    That’s the most fucked up thing I’ve ever read.

  13. Anitra says:

    That’s right, penalize all the students for the sake of stopping a few. Because a post-secondary education isn’t expensive enough yet.

  14. nidolke says:

    This hurts my brain.

  15. orielbean says:

    He looks like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.

  16. gamble says:

    I seriously doubt this guy understands the ramifications of what he is suggesting. Or maybe he does and he’s just a total jackass.

  17. Thermopyle says:

    This guy is retarded, but Consumerist, please stop implying that receiving money from special interests “buys” said special interest votes.

    Special interests donate money to candidates who ALREADY AGREE WITH THEIR POSITIONS.

    This is accepted political science from what I can tell.

  18. popeye_doyle says:

    This fucking idiot is on his way to the white house, after the Dems. “lose” the war in Iraq.

    Thermo–He’s a Republican, for Chrissake. He doesn’t have a position until he sees the name on the check.

  19. Art Vandelay says:

    @Thermopyle: No, it’s not. That’s why there is a billion dollar lobbying industry on the local and national level. It’s just a new name for buying votes, as demonstrated in cases like this.

    Anyone who works for a lobbyist in any form or fashion receives no sympathy from me for any personal tragedy that may arise.

  20. Imhotep says:

    One word: Douchebag.

  21. Thermopyle says:

    @Art Vandelay:

    Your logic is flawed. The existence of the lobbying “industry” does not prove that votes are bought.

    The lobbying industry helps maintain favorable seats. It has little effect on politicians voting record. In other words, this politician would be a douchebag whether he was receiving the RIAA’s money or not.

    Additionally, wishing personal ill will on others isn’t a good way to make your argument appear stronger.


    Your resort to stereotyping does little to bolster your argument.

  22. notebook says:

    As if education in America isn’t bad enough.

  23. Havok154 says:

    Are you a political figure yourself? You seem to be really sure that people don’t do stuff they wouldn’t normally do when massive amounts of money are involved. I can guarantee that if I go onto the street and offered some regular person $1 million to punch the next child that walked by, a good majority would actually do so, regardless if they would or not before I showed them the money.

  24. mind says:

    ehh, despite the knee-jerk reaction, it does make a lot of sense. the government doesn’t want filesharing, why should it be paying to build networks which allow it?

    having said that, i would like to cut my funding to the federal government. i do not want copyright and i do not wish to waste my money on a pointless system (along with the repression of drugs, elective wars of aggression, etc). i’d rather pay a bit extra for things like college rather than throwing away half of my income to fund oppression.

  25. johnniewalker says:

    This idiot is so obviously bias, its like the taxes on cigarettes and how the government ‘indirectly’ makes money off people getting cancer.

  26. b0gairian says:

    Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) who, in the last election cycle, took money from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner, Universal Music, Viacom, Fox, the RIAA, and The Walt Disney Company.

    ^^ does that not right there sort of make it clear that this guy is being the puppet for the major companies that “own” him -.-

    This is a conspirators dream, some beefcake taking in money from RIAA backing companies being told what to say and what to do. This beefcake is the guy that asked a programmer to make a program that is able to alter the votes in voting machine mainly like the ones in the 2004 election.
    Just like brianala pointed out

    I just cant see how evil people that like to exploit others for there gain can continue running in congress, well they are do that don’t they -.-

  27. Trai_Dep says:

    You can always tell the pols that did craptacularly while in school because they try to rape education every chance they get to get even for being exposed as retarded, drunken idiots.

  28. Daniel @ says:

    I just started my college education and rates rose between semesters. This makes me feel terrible.

  29. popeye_doyle says:

    Thermo–It works both ways. The RIAA lobbyist doesn’t just look for known supporters of their position. Do you think Feeney knew anything at all about colleges not cooperating until the RIAA guy told him? Did he campaign on the issue of forcing colleges to cooperate with the RIAA? Would he go to the trouble of dealing with this non-issue at all—especially when his country is at war–if the RIAA had not given him any money? So the RIAA lobbyist knew he had a sympathetic Congressman in Feeney, but also knew it was going to cost money. He talked to Feeney, he knew he could

  30. popeye_doyle says:

    count on him, and authorized the contribution. This probably did not surprise Feeney, who has a much better understanding of how political science works than either you or I do.

  31. Her Grace says:

    I swear, if you elect me President in 2020, I will create an executive order thoroughly punishing this guy, in all likelihood by confiscating all of his assets and using them as a bonus fund to give more tertiary students grants instead of exhorbitant loans.

  32. lincolnparadox says:

    Read the article a bit more closely everyone. Feeney is threatening to cut federal research dollars. The Feds don’t give money to University students/student programs, except via student loan subsidies or via research grants.

    So, what this means is, Feeney is suggesting that not only do we penalize our universities for not “snapping to” when the RIAA comes knocking, but also that we direct all federal research monies towards private industries.

    It’s a GOP one-two knockout combo.


  33. Yourhero88 says:

    Next up, Congressmen recieving campaign money from the Coca Cola corporation says ‘Drink more delicious Coke products, or we’ll stop providing you with oxygen!’ *Takes a long satisfying sip of Diet Coke, turns to the camera, smiles*

    God bless America.

  34. maidus says:

    Hi all,

    I just wrote my representative regarding this. I suggest you let your reps know about this guys stance.

    Here’s how to contact them:

    If you need something to write, this is what I wrote. You can use it if you like:

    “I’m writing you for a very important reason. I read an article this morning about Rep. Tom Feeney’s stance to cut fed. funding to educational institutions based on whether they cut/limit/monitor file sharing on their networks. Say this is not so. The responsabilities of these networks are a private matter and the institution should not pay the price for a student’s involvement in online piracy. I am a major advocate for education as I believe it holds the answer to a more civil, educated, wiser society. It is what makes our culture stand as a respected nation in the world and what justifies our movement of open communications to the globe. To limit any form of gov. funding to any educational institution is an act of aggression toward a body whose only purpose is to benefit society. Please consider what Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) is trying to do and understand that some in your constituency are opposed to his view. I’m finishing my Masters Degree right now. I do not think it would be right if my school and its student body had to pay a price based upon the actions of small group of people.

    Thank you for considering this and I hope you agree with my point,”

  35. apeguero says:

    I agree the guy is full of shit and all and RIAA is bad and shouldn’t get any help from the government with new laws being passed. But, I had no idea that Colleges and Universities were receiving so much of my tax money yearly. They get so much freekin’ money and still get to charge us so much for education? Like I said, RIAA is the worst company in America as we discovered recently by the poll held here but universities are also ripping us off with their ridiculous tuition price.

  36. Trackback says:

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  37. Thermopyle says:


    You’re still not approaching this correctly.

    If you’re going to make the argument that Feeney knows polysci better than either of us, I can make the argument that actual political scientists know it even better, and the consensus is pretty much that lobbyist’s money does little to sway votes.

    ad infinium…

    The rest of your argument about the lobbyists bringing this issue to Feeney’s attention is nearly exactly what I said. Feeney is already inclined to vote in their favor, so all they have to do is bring his attention to bear on the matter. Their money makes little difference.

    The layman’s view on this matter isn’t backed up by current science.

  38. Thermopyle says:


    No, I just enjoy keeping up on current science.

  39. fairweather says:

    If anyone ever wanted to know the definition of asshat, look no further.