Thursday, July 1, 2010

Federal Rules on Campus File Sharing Kick in Today

CNET today reported that "Federal rules on campus file sharing kick in today". The quick take, this is simply another law that incrementally assaults our civil liberties in the name of fighting a "war", in this case the war against piracy. This law would seem to violate at least three fundamental principles.

One is due process, if the finger of blame is pointed at you, you are guilty by default and can be immediately disciplined. Think your innocent, well you will have to prove it.

Second, "wiretapping". People seem to get all vocal and hysterical about wiretapping and the need for little bureaucratic details such as a search warrant. However, when it comes to an overt invasion of privacy for the purposes of fighting piracy there is a sudden attack of laryngitis not to mention the apparent use of Valium. Search warrant, none needed.

Third, this law essentially forces universities to act as a private police force for the sole benefit of the content industry. Technically, infringement is supposed to be a civil matter, but it has been turned into a criminal matter that includes forcing universities to protect the revenue stream of the content industry. This is perfectly illustrated by: "The greatest constraint on your future liberties may come not from government but from corporate legal departments laboring to protect by force what can no longer be protected by practical efficiency or general social consent." Thanks to Thanks to William Stepp at Against Monopoly for finding the quote below from John Perry Barlow.

Imagine this onerous hypothetical example. An RIAA executive taps you on the shoulder and demands that you break into the house that he is pointing to, that you search the house for unauthorized content, if you find it that you bring it to him. Search warrant? None needed. So how can he force you to break and enter someone else's house to "protect" his property that you have no interest in? If you refuse, you go to jail. Doesn't sound legal, but given today's trends it seems we are headed that way.

You may also be interest in:
"New rules bring online piracy fight to US campuses"
"Universities Struggling To Deal With Law Requiring Them To Fight File Sharing"
"The Next Generation Of Anti-Piracy Legislation Goes To School"

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