New bill lets colleges use federal funds to fight P2P

Representative Ric Keller feels that colleges in America are places where students learn to steal "billions of dollars in intellectual property from hardworking people whose jobs hang in the balance" and his new bill (HR 1689) could give schools more money to combat P2P. The bill, called the "Curb Illegal Downloading on College Campuses Act of 2007," amends the Higher Education Act, a bill that supplies federal money to universities for bandwidth costs and to keep networks more secure, allowing that money (note: not any additional funding is being requested) to be used to combat illegal downloading of copyrighted content. The bill notes that "computer systems at colleges and universities are intended primarily to aid in educating and increase research capability among students and faculty."

There's no guarantee that the bill will make it to a vote, but even if it makes it through all the political obstacles, it isn't clear if schools would be interested in using a limited pool of federal money to police student file-swapping. It has already been shunted to the House Committee on Education and Labor, and might languish there until the end of this Congressional term except for the fact that the HEA, which expires this summer, needs to be reauthorized.

News source: Ars Technica

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