MPAA To Target Pirating College Students and Rogue Universities

Starting tomorrow, the MPAA will send out letters to higher education institutions in the United States, urging them to protect the interests of the six major movie and television studios. In addition, the MPAA will announce that it will start warning college and university students who are illegally sharing motion picture movies on college campus networks. Those who don't abide will have to face the consequences.

mpaaThe RIAA is famous for targeting college students with DMCA takedown notices or even full lawsuits. The MPAA however, has never been active on this front.

Individual movie companies have sent thousands of infringement notices but these campaigns have never been led by the MPAA, until now.

This week the MPAA will notify all college and university presidents about this upcoming policy change, and at the same time the movie industry outfit will urge institutions to do whatever they can to stop illegal downloading on their campus networks.

In July this year, the US put into effect a new requirement for colleges and universities to stop illicit file-sharing on their networks. This legislation puts defiant schools at risk of losing federal funding if they don’t do enough to stop illicit file-sharers on their campus.

With this ammunition in hand the MPAA drafted a letter which TorrentFreak received a copy of this weekend, a few days before it will be mailed to the universities. In the letter the MPAA politely asks the colleges and universities to help the movie industry to fight the evil that piracy is.

The MPAA writes that the jobs of 2.4 million US workers are at stake, if proper countermeasures are not taken.

“For these workers and their families, online theft means declining incomes, lost jobs, reduced health and retirement benefits, and a lessened ability to provide their children with an education at institutions like yours,” MPAA’s anti-piracy head Daniel Mandil writes.

“In addition, online theft is a job-killer that also reduces the number of opportunities for graduates of your institution to make a living in the creative sectors.”

“Beyond the negative economic consequences for both the current workforce and future employment, the downloading and distribution of copyrighted works are serious offenses that carry with them the risk of substantial monetary damages and, in some cases, criminal prosecution,” Mandil adds.

Of course, between the lines the MPAA also notes that colleges and universities who fail to implement proper anti-piracy policies, may lose federal funding.

The letter further notes that the MPAA itself will get involved in sending out warning letters to higher education institutions for any ‘illegal activity’ they detect. This, in addition to the DMCA takedown notices that individual film and television studios have been sending out already.

Of course, the MPAA doesn’t only warn universities, they also offer solutions. One option that is recommended by the MPAA is to block students and employees access to ‘rogue web sites.’ This means, actively censoring BitTorrent search engines and indexes such as The Pirate Bay, Demonoid and isoHunt.

Aside from commercial censorship there are also less aggressive methods such as ‘educational seminars,’ monitoring the browsing habits of students, or blocking all P2P-traffic entirely which some of the appointed ‘role model‘ schools do.

Naturally, the additional DMCA notices and expensive countermeasures will take away a few hundred thousand dollars a year from the education budget, but it’s for a good cause. After all, if piracy continues at this rate many of the current students might not even be able to get a job when they graduate.

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