I have not been blogging as much as I would like recently, mostly due to revamping my computer to run Linux, making lots of beaded jewelry for the Alternative Holiday Bazaar at Clear Creek Co-Op, learning to knit, and everything else in my life; however, I recently heard about a bill in congress that I CAN NOT keep from blogging or ranting about.
While listening to my daily dose of Buzz Out Loud I heard about proposed “New federal legislation that says universities must agree to provide not just deterrents but also “alternatives” to peer-to-peer piracy, such as paying monthly subscription fees to the music industry for their students, on penalty of losing all financial aid for their students.” In other words, if universities don’t guarantee to provide a revenue stream for the entertainment industry all students at their college will loose federal funding whether or not they own a computer.
To say I am angry about this is a drastic understatement. This is not only an amazing misappropriation of government time and energy, but it also speaks volumes about our country’s misaligned values. The entertainment industry is now trying to convince those who govern us, with apparent success, that preventing piracy is more important than providing quality education for everyone.
The most disturbing part of this is that it will only serve to further increase the gap between the “have’s” and “have not’s” by making higher education virtually unattainable for low income students. Students who’s families cannot afford to pay for college without federal financial aid will be the ones who suffer whether or not they have ever committed piracy.
On top of that, this flies in the face of net neutrality by forcing the universities to filter their networks and put money into select “alternative” sources. This feels like the first precarious step off of a very slippery slope.