Bush signs bill to curb illegal downloading

President Bush signed a bill that into law Thursday that will require colleges and universities to take steps to curb online piracy on campus.

The Higher Education Act contains provisions focusing on how online campus networks are used. Universities will be required to make certain disclosures to students as well as develop technology-based antipiracy programs and provide legal alternatives to illegal downloading. As an incentive, the bill also creates a federal grant program tied to these efforts.

“This is a particularly significant achievement in that Congress has made clear that online campus piracy is a problem requiring national attention,” Motion Picture Assn. of America topper Dan Glickman told Daily Variety.

The higher education lobby opposed the provisions because they linked federal funding for programs like student assistance to compliance. But Glickman said, “There’s no immediate threat that any universities will lose funding. Only if they willfully do not comply.”

Many universities have already begun taking measures to curb campus piracy, Glickman added.

The MPAA will be providing colleges and universities with a briefing book that will explain the law and its requirements.

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