As the accessibility and knowledge of how to use technology has increased, so has the ability to take advantage of them. College students today have found loop holes in downloading files for free and this has caught the attention of entertainment industries. An excellent article Colleges and Universities Join Anti-Piracy Fight discusses how the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have waged a battle on piracy for many years but finally urged for provisions to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 http://sciencetechlaw.healthreformwatch.com/2010/07/.
Aside from institution requirements and information on available grant programs, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 contained synopses of law provisions that would affect the higher education system. One of which focused on Copyright Infringement, which stated that institutions needed to “develop plans to detect and prevent unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material over campus networks”. It expanded to include all forms of intellectual property, including music and video files (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0470.htm).
Nonetheless, RIAA and MPAA continued to complain that piracy was an increasingly rapid problem. According to an analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation, global music piracy was the direct source for $12.5 billion of economic losses and 71,060 U.S. job losses per year (http://www.riaa.com/faq.php). Furthermore, it was recorded that only 37% of acquired music by American consumers was paid for in 2009. From these numbers, it was quite obvious that piracy had a negative impact on the music industry.
Since college students were/are some of the most avid music and media consumers in today’s society, clearly, some of the blame needed to be placed on the absence of stricktly enforced anti-piracy policies at universities and colleges. As a result, entertainment industries wanted the provision to require universities and colleges to “implement at least one ‘technology based deterrent’ such as blocking file transfers, traffic shaping, or preventing access to peer-to-peer file transfer sites”. In the absence of that, it wanted to deny access to federal student financial aid.
The provision was made effective in 2010, and has received both positive and negative reviews. Some universities and colleges were able to successfully implement anti-piracy technology devises and have testified in having less copyright infringement notifications. On the other hand, the issue of piracy will always be a concern, as one cannot completely control the use of technology. To some, this new provision also seems to be just another tactic for entertainment industries to monopolize online music and media.