Originally published: December 6, 2010
Last updated: December 9, 2010 - 11:10am
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has decided to mimic the efforts of its music industry counterpart and put pressure on universities to curb student piracy. The organization notified its partners this week that it would begin sending out letters to college and university presidents in the US "calling their attention" to the anti-infringement provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The letter—copied to the campus CIOs—asks universities to cut off infringing students or face potentially crippling consequences. What are those consequences? The HEOA now requires universities to take steps to stop copyright infringement on campus in order to receive state funding and student aid.
Of course, the MPAA isn't capable of pulling university funding over some shared movies, but the organization is capable of spending millions of dollars to lobby state and federal officials to enforce those parts of the HEOA. The MPAA's letter also pulls on the heartstrings of universities that are trying to keep almost-graduating students optimistic during a poor job market. "[M]ore than 2.4 million workers in all 50 states depend on the entertainment industry for their jobs," reads the letter. "[O]nline theft is a job-killer than also reduces the number of opportunities for graduates of your institution to make a living in the creative sectors."