New Bill Would Cut Financial Aid To Schools Who Don't Police P2P, Sign Up With Napster

Ars Technica is reporting that there is a provision in a massive new education bill that would punish schools that don’t police p2p traffic on their networks by cutting federal financial aid. In addition, the bill requires that schools offer an industry approved alternative to file sharing, such as Napster or Rhapsody.

From Ars Technica:

Under the terms of the act, which is cosponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), schools will have to inform students of their official policies about copyright infringement during the financial aid application and disbursement process. In addition, students will be warned about the possible civil and criminal penalties for file-sharing as well as the steps the schools take to prevent and detect illicit P2P traffic.

That’s not all: schools would have to give students an alternative to file-sharing while evaluating technological measures (i.e., traffic shaping, deep packet inspection) that they could deploy to thwart P2P traffic on campus networks. Many–if not most–schools already closely monitor traffic on their networks, with some (e.g., Ohio University) blocking it altogether, and the bill would provide grants to colleges so they could evaluate different technological solutions.

The most objectionable part of the bill is the part that could force schools into signing up for music subscription services. In order to keep that beloved federal aid money flowing, universities would have to “develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property.”

Have we no worse educational problems to worry about? Is Congress really prepared to tell a school, “Sorry, you’ve lost your funding because Billy is letting people download music on your network?”

MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman is:

“Intellectual property theft is a worldwide problem that hurts our economy and costs more than 140,000 American jobs every year,” said Glickman in a statement. “We are pleased to see that Congress is taking this step to help keep our economy strong by protecting copyrighted material on college campuses.”

Loss of federal financial aid to a college would result in students losing all federal funding, including Pell grants and student loans.

This is the funding that allows low-income students who would not otherwise have been able to afford college (like me, for example) to get a higher education. In a letter to Congress, the Association of American Universities wrote:

Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their Federal financial aid-including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century economy. Lower income students, those most in need of Federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry’s proposal.

New bill would punish colleges, students who don’t become copyright cops [Ars Technica]
(Photo:George Miller [D-California, 7th Congressional District])


Edit Your Comment

  1. GTB says:

    countdown to Napster “download everything for free” hack begins in 10…9…8…7…

    unless there already is one?

  2. Coder4Life says:

    Maybe they should pass a law any student that breaks any law shoudl be turned into the police and if not, the school will loose fundings.


    Lets try to ruin the future of education so all the rapper and singers and whatever else can make MILLIONS and MILLIONS more on top of their MILLIONS they are making.

  3. SeraSera says:

    There’s already a Facebook group for this (“MPAA Threatens Federal University Funding”). Good old college protesting spirit.

  4. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Would that also cut out federal work-study aid? Damn, that’s col.d.

  5. Adam Hyland says:

    Note that the only approved “legal downloading services” are subscription based. Evidently, providing internet access to use Itunes or a DRM free legal download alternative isn’t enough. We’ve got to pay succor to the MAFIAA in order to keep federal aid.

    This isn’t really that new of an attempted concept. Federal aid and state aid have been used in a mercenary fashion for a LONG time, but this is some new triviality of the same old song.

    Poor College kids and their parents don’t make campaign donations. Not enough college kids vote in order to make this a hot button issue (compare this to anything that the AARP can lobby for). The issue is too murky and already too slanted toward the MPAA/RIAA for the public to care.

    Here is hoping that a lawsuit can be mounted successfully.

  6. InThrees says:

    Welcome to the United Corporation of BigMedia Interests, please enjoy your stay.

  7. Falconfire says:

    I for one welcome out new lobbying group listening overloads….

    oh wait, those where our old overloads… well that sucks.

    yet another reason California could fall off into the Pacific, and the rest of us would stand on the cliff cheering madly.

  8. Omi says:

    The federal financial aid taken from colleges and universities across the country will then be redirected straight into the pockets of MPAA and RIAA executives to compensate them for any emotional distress they may have endured.

  9. Buran says:

    How exactly is a civil action a matter for the federal government? Private companies should police their own freaking problems.

  10. Kloud says:

    @SeraSera: I believe you forgot your [sarcasm] tags :)

    “Hey, I’m totally against what the MPAA is doing to corrupt our government, I’M GOING TO MAKE A FACEBOOK GROUP IN PROTEST!”


  11. Egakino says:

    Intellectual property theft is a worldwide problem that hurts our economy and costs more than 140,000 American jobs every year

    Rigggggggggggggggghhhhhhht. That one right out of the Bureau of Pulled Out of my Ass Statistics. BPOAS also warns of the dangerously high levels of mercury in our unicorn stock, we really shouldn’t place those gold mining facilities next to gum drop forest.

  12. catnapped says:

    @Egakino: Well they do need some excuse for all those jobs they’re shipping off to India and/or China (“those damn high schoolers pirating music are why you’re losing you’re job!”)

  13. lincolnparadox says:

    I wonder how the telecoms are going to fit into this legislation? How about, if the telecoms don’t police their internet traffic then they lose their interstate commerce license? That’s sounds about right.

    Unbelievable. Can you imagine losing a financial aid package because of this bill? Not to mention the added cost to the infrastructure needed to police the internet at these schools.

    Dum dum dum.

  14. Rando says:


    Why is corperate america allowed to be involved with education?

  15. hapless says:


    Why is the “governement” allowed to be involved with education?

  16. Myotheralt says:

    careful Lincolnparadox, dont need to give them ideas

  17. supra606 says:

    Isn’t it great how our government no longer feels the need to try to hide the fact that it’s on sale to the highest bidder?

  18. NotGregg says:

    I like it. You will assume that all your students are thieves. Maybe they ought to ban Wikipedia and any other online referencing sites. After all it’s just hurting the book publishing industry.

  19. Bladefist says:

    the terrorist have won.

  20. drkkgt says:

    Okay so the path is this: Colleges don’t police their networks they won’t get money for those who may not be able to afford college. Kids can’t afford college so they may struggle for jobs and be unable to pay for CDs or “legitimate and approved” music sites so they pirate music, which leads to the RIAA being able to sue more people to keep it’s outdated business model afloat.
    Sounds like careful planning on their part.

  21. Amelie says:

    This has to be illegal: “In addition, the bill requires that schools offer an industry approved alternative to file sharing, such as Napster or Rhapsody.

  22. FLConsumer says:

    @Buran: You’ve got that right. What does a private matter have to do with public funding/policy? When was the last time the RIAA donated money to any public university?

    @Egakino: Damn, I rather liked the idea of putting 140,000 potential rappers out of work.

  23. spinachdip says:

    @Coder4Life: Not to veer off topic, but rappers and singers hardly make money off their sales. Most of the money they make off sales get siphoned back to the label for studio costs, video production, tour expenses, etc. Musicians who actually do make millions do it through publishing or songwriting/producing, not sales.

  24. junkmail says:

    @Egakino: No kidding… I stumbled on that one too. Thought I mighta stepped in some bullshit there.

  25. nxp3 says:

    I wonder how much the music industry paid these fukkers for them to turn on the very school that educate their children.

  26. Mr. Gunn says:

    The College Opportunity and Affordability and Recording Industry Subsidy Act of 2007

    /won’t someone think of the rappers!

  27. BigNutty says:

    The FASFA application already discriminates against those that were arrested for drugs and mandates you sign up for Selective Service and now they want to add another requirement that might prevent you from getting the hell out of McDonald’s.

  28. HooFoot says:

    And people wonder why I stopped voting for Democrats…

  29. azntg says:

    Here’s a nice and polite message to politicians and lobbyers who thinks that this bill has ANY potential: “Get your f*cking hands off our education money.”

    Even though I’m not affiliated to any party, I still tend to vote Democrat more. But, I do keep these incidents in mind each time and I love writing letters to the people in Capitol Hill working on our behalf. If they want to play the game, I’ll play the game too.

  30. RvLeshrac says:


    Except for all of the record companies not based in California, which is more than half. And all of the media companies not based in California, which is a great deal more than half.

    Oh, and all of the recording artists not based in California, which is…. damn near all of them, actually.

  31. Brazell says:

    I am not usually in the business of defending Democrats and their silly legislation, but a few people have made the suggestion that government should not be meddling with education, or private institutions, and so on. The key here is that it is federal financial aid, which the federal government has every right to use to police schools.

    That being said, there are dozens of more problems with Higher Education in America than file sharing, however… they are problems few people care to recognize, and that Higher Education does a very good job of covering up (care of the Chronical)

  32. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Coder4Life: Your anger is misdirected. It’s not really the performers who lose money from pirated music, it’s the music labels that are losing money. Performers make the real money in merchandise and liver performances. The only performers who would really have to be worried would be the totally fake pop acts that are manufactured by the record labels.

  33. bonzombiekitty says:

    Edit to the above: That should say “live performances” not “liver performances”

  34. l951b951 says:

    Doe anyone have the exact bill # for this. I’m one of those dorks that writes to his congressman when they consider stupid bills like this, and I would like to have specifics so maybe I won’t get a canned response.

  35. @zouxou: Next they’ll be requiring schools to make sure students spend X amount of money in retail stores every month…you know, to help the economy.

    Many, the second you think someone else might beat them for Worst Company In America…

  36. jawacg says:

    The majority of music and movies are shoddy enough to so not inspire me to purchase them and I don’t download illegally so what are they trying to do? Stop me from purchasing anything at all????

  37. Dennis says:

    Another piece of crap legislature. Just when I thought congress was busy not giving a crap about net neutrality.

  38. Benstein says:

    This just proves to people who didn’t already know that all Congressmen can be bought, regardless of there party.

  39. nidolke says:

    Knowing that the RIAA has such a thumb up the ass of University makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  40. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @BigNutty: Maybe I am just missing your point but how is it discriminatory if somone was convicted for drug related offences? If they are just released and let go without charges it shouldn’t count but if somone is caught and convicted for drug related crimes…well its thier money they can control how it is spent.

    And BTW Selective Service is mandatory.

    ” Under current law, all male U.S. citizens are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. ” so not allowing people to get money who are breaking the law is also thier choice.

  41. guymandude says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Ever hear of the 13th Amendment? How is selective service legal?

  42. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @guymandude: Umm how would abolishing slavery relate to selective service? I understand the Involentary service thing, but this is different. Service to the country is part of being a citizen.

  43. CyberSkull says:

    I don’t see how anyone can properly tell what is a legit download and what is not. They just don’t have the resources to do this.

  44. Coyote says:

    140,000 jobs lost every year, which I agree is a BS figure, still thats much better than the several million students that could lose their funding and there-by lose future employment.

    Also if the federal govt wants to police colleges for illegal activities they could pick a much more damaging event like rampant drug use, under age drinking, or any other crime kids commit.. oh wait those are already dealt with by the appropriate law enforcements just like illegal downloads are already.

    Federal funding should not be used as a enforcement tool, it is meant to be an incentive, or “aid”. By denying schools funding for any reason should be seen as discrimination and extortion. Whats to stop the MPAA or RIAA from claiming a school isn’t enforcing their “contracts with the predetermined suppliers” or isn’t meeting a quota so the kids must be doing it illegally.

  45. techforumz says:

    What’s that you say no more california? Yay! Bye Bye Al Gore, Bye Bye RIAA etc…

  46. techforumz says:

    Oh and by the way… I’ll just use wifi/wireless/satellite/private apart./FiOS/Cell etc… No way to close all options.