The RIAA Nearing Goal of Alienating Everyone in the World, Part II: Download a Song, Lose Financial Aid?

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Not only is the Recording Industry Association of America continuing its litigation efforts against university campuses, as Party Ben noted yesterday, but the group is also trying to pass legislation that would jeopardize the federal financial aid of these schools whose students are engaged in file sharing. Already strapped students and universities could soon be tasked with helping RIAA reach its bottom line.

The massive 800 page tome that is the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 includes a section called “Campus-Based Digital Theft Prevention,” which addresses file sharing, mostly of music and movies, on campus networks. The bill states that during the financial aid process, schools are obligated to inform students about copyright infringement laws. In addition, schools are mandated to implement technology that would prevent file sharing. The penalty for not taking these preventative measures is loss of all federal financial aid for the university.

The entertainment industry wants students to pay for movies and music, so instead of sharing files for free, schools would be forced to buy a music subscription service, such as Napster or Rhapsody. This money would be taken out of student activity fees, which doesn’t seem fair. Not to mention most students don’t even like these services because they’re not compatible with iPods and the downloads are solely for on-campus use.

So, if the students continue to share music, they suffer a federal financial aid cut. If they stop sharing music, their activity fees get hijacked. Party Ben got it right when he said the RIAA is surely “nearing the goal of alienating everyone.”

—Andre Sternberg

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

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