WITNESSES DISCUSS TECHNOLOGY'S ROLE IN REDUCING ILLEGAL FILE-SHARING AT UNIVERSITIES
Today, the House Science and Technology Committee heard testimony from a panel of expert witnesses who all said that although currently there is no single solution to stop the illegal file-sharing of intellectual property at universities and college campuses, technologies can play a role reducing its occurrence.
"Piracy of digitally available media has become a large concern as more and more intellectual and creative works are available in easily-transferred, digital format and access to high bandwidth networks has spread," said Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX). "The variety of campus network needs and policies with respect to the proper role of the institution in policing users leads to a highly diverse environment."
Hall continued, "However, recent work and cooperation among higher education, copyright holders, and technology companies has helped build an understanding of these varied requirements and given us insight into how we might proceed."
Although there are widespread implications surrounding the illegal transfer of intellectual property, today's hearing examined the efficacy of technological solutions to stopping illegal file-sharing. When asked whether technology could completely stop illegal file-sharing, the witnessed unanimously agreed that technology alone cannot stop piracy. Instead, the witnesses promoted a mixed suite of solutions including education, legal file-sharing alternatives, along with technological deterrence.
While suggesting that technology can play a positive role in reducing illegal file-sharing, one of today's witnesses, Mr. Greg Jackson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the University of Chicago, said that changing students' behavior will have the most impact. He said that "We must educate people to understand why certain behaviors are counterproductive for their own community or economy. If we do that together - by which I mean owners, publishers, transmitters, and users - collective good will trump individual malfeasance."
Also testifying at today's hearing were: Charles Wight, Associate Vice President, University of Utah; Adrian Sannier, Vice President and University Technology Officer, Arizona State University; Vance Ikezoye, President and CEO, Audible Magic Corporation; and Cheryl Asper Elzy, Dean of University Libraries, Illinois State University.