RIAA Threatening America's Economic Future

By now just about everyone has heard of the RIAA and their law suits against people who have allegedly pirated music over the Internet.  The stories of the RIAA suing grandmothers, minors, and the deceased are common place, but it seems that the RIAA's latest step might have taken things too far: they're asking that a new law be passed that will require schools seeking federal funding for their programs and student body to police their own networks and keep them piracy-free.

The request isn't unreasonable, and ought to be a goal of any IT staff at an organization where piracy is probable, but the repercussions of failure (not to mention what constitutes failure) could have a major impact on our society according to an open letter from a group of university officials regarding the bill:

“Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid--including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy.”

Perhaps the largest problem is that pirates are certainly creative and stopping them before they can actually pirate a file that takes only a moment or two to download might be an unreasonable task.