Democratic legislators have introduced a bill that will tie university financial aid funding to universities imposing stiff penalties for file-sharing, and to universities subsidizing student subscriptions to failed DRM-based systems like Napster and Ruckus. This is about as ugly as pork-barrel politics can get: politicians are so in debt to four of five ailing giants from the entertainment industry that they're prepared to deny low-income children access to a college education if universities don't punish kids for listening to music and piss away money on a useless service that no one wants to use.
The congressmen behind this are Reps. George Miller from California and Ruben Hinojosa of Texas and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. These three men are proposing to make colleges into a subsidy system for the MAFIAA. Remember those names come election time -- and if you live in their districts, call them today.
The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) applauded the proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page spending and financial aid bill. "We very much support the language in the bill, which requires universities to provide evidence that they have a plan for implementing a technology to address illegal file sharing," said Angela Martinez, a spokeswoman for the MPAA.