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Entertainment Industry Urges Congress to Get Tough With Colleges on File-Sharing

The movie and recording industries are trying to persuade key members of Congress that colleges are hotbeds of illegal file-sharing and that lawmakers should step up pressure on colleges to do more to stop the problem.

In a letter to members of Congress dated Tuesday, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America took exception to claims by higher-education groups that online music services and technology tools to block file-sharing are costly and ineffective.

The entertainment-industry groups were responding to a letter that 13 higher-education groups sent to some members of Congress last week urging them to reject language in a House-approved bill that would require colleges to use such tools. The entertainment industry groups want the House language to become law. A similar Senate bill omits the language on peer-to-peer file sharing.

“One filtering product is now deployed at approximately 70 colleges and universities across the country, and it has demonstrated the ability to impede illegal P2P activity on a number of campus networks,” says the letter from the entertainment industry groups.

It says one university “saved $1.2-million a year in terms of bandwidth and $70,000 in personnel costs” after installing a technology filter on a campus network. The letter did not name the university.

The letter also said that “U.S. college students are disproportionately responsible for digital theft of copyrighted materials and that this dynamic is one that needs to be proactively addressed by the university community without further delay.”

Higher-education groups are “trying to divert attention from the real and immediate problems at hand,” the letter continued.

The letter was signed by Dan Glickman, president of the motion picture group, and Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the recording-industry group. The letter was addressed to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the House Committee on Education and Labor.—-Andrea L. Foster

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