Today not only marks the first day of July, but according to the Higher Education Opportunity Act regulations enacted last year, it also marks the first day that all colleges and universities are required to have a plan in place to address illegal file-sharing on campus networks. Higher ed organization Educause has a good and helpful webpage that lays out the specific requirements for each school, in addition to some “role model” schools that have taken proactive steps to reduce the problem on their campuses.
Why is this law significant? It’s the first time ever in the history of dealing with the issue that Congress is holding schools accountable and requiring them to address the problem. Many schools have already taken necessary steps to deal with the issue, with great success and who deserve real credit. But there are some universities who are reluctant and perhaps prefer to remain on the sidelines without actually doing anything to proactively confront the piracy situation on their campus. Here you have Congress saying ‘Get off the sidelines and help deal with the problem.’ It’s an important signal. Will it cause those reluctant schools to change their policies? We sure hope so. From what we’ve seen so far, the sea change in school administrators’ attitudes against piracy – even from just a few years ago – has been very encouraging. We hope this law will give others the reason that they need to be proactive.
Cary Sherman, President, RIAA