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MPAA Encourages Universities to Block “Rogue” Sites

MPAA Encourages Universities to Block “Rogue” Sites

Daniel M. Mandil, the MPAA’s Chief Content Protection Officer reminds college presidents of their obligations under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 to fight illegal P2P on campus networks, and encourages them to warn students or actually block access when they attempt to visit “rogue sites.”

The MPAA has taken the time to remind college presidents around the country of their respective institution’s obligations under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 to fight illegal P2P on campus networks.

The HEOA, approved by Congress back in 2008, requires academic institutions to submit an annual disclosure detailing their policies with respect to illegal P2P, including the disciplinary actions they plan to take against those students who engage in the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.

The HEOA formally went into effect this past July.

In the letter the MPAA notes that compliance with the HEOA is a “condition for receiving student aid,” and that more importantly, helps to protect American workers.

“The Act was passed in recognition of the fact that more than 2.4 million workers in all 50 states depend on the entertainment industry for their jobs,” writes Daniel M. Mandil, the MPAA’s Chief Content Protection Officer. “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 an education at institutions like yours.”

It’s a bunch of nonsense. The movie industry has enjoyed year after year of record profits and global ticket sales are up some 30% since 2005. Plus, preventing students from downloading video content on campus won’t protect movie industry workers’ incomes, health or retirement benefits. And let’s say it does. What about the incomes, health or retirement benefits of workers in the other industries where the students currently spend the money the movie industry is trying to rein in?

Now if your recall, the MPAA once blamed college students for 44% of domestic piracy losses. It later revised the figure to a miniscule 15% which, if you subtract students who live off campus and who thus won’t be affected by the legislation, means that they’re responsible for 10% at most.

Mandil goes on to recommend several ways that colleges can comply with the HEOA:

  1. Educational seminars for notice recipients
  2. Monitored “opt in” programs for users who wish to use P2P protocols
  3. Deploying legal content portals
  4. Warning users or actually blocking access when they attempt to visit “rogue sites.”

The last suggestion is the most troubling. The MPAA recommends filtering the Internet of “rogue sites” without giving them the benefit of trial or due process, and all for a problem that comprises perhaps less than 10% of domestic piracy.

The term “rogue sites” is something the MPAA and other copyright holders have been tossing around as Congress considers the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). They’ve been using it as a way of convincing people that some sites on the Internet should be censored. After all, nobody likes anything “rogue” right?

But, filtering the Internet is not something an institution of higher learning should be engaged in.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]


Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Scary Devil Monastery
Scary Devil Monastery

Of course they can block selected adresses running through their own intranets. Everyone who is a de facto owner of an intranet does more or less the same. Not that it'll help. The most basic VPN tunnel will easily defeat such a scheme. And it just isn't very practical to even attempt a ban of encrypted traffic. This, like so many other idiotic suggestions, amounts to nothing more than a minor speed bump. The seizing of domain names is more serious - we already see a lot of busy programmers creating distributed DNS infrastrutures in order to in praxis remove the root authority from ICANN. COICA has done no more than undermining the international credibility of the US role in handling the root domain.


Seems like the MPAA are back to their terrorising ways, ordinary folks must make some noises and resist and ensure democracy is not lost in installments, folks should take the time to teach the children about responsible sharing and to give short shrift to false monopolies enacted by corrupt politicians and controlled by "not for profit groups" who abuse their status to pay little or no tax, you groups know who you are.


How much longer will mainstream Americans continue to put up with all of the civil rights violations? Gropes, nude scanners, habeas corpus, file sharing. As for these recording industry bozo's why don't the just come out and tell us they are stealing our money when we buy their client's material? We all know this is true and I would prefer to be told the truth if I spend money.


If I were a president of one of these colleges, I'd be pissed off to receive ANYTHING from the MPAA. Either we follow the law or we don't, no need to have the mpaa jabbing at us with these "reminders". I'd fire off a response to them that they are only able to contact us through our attorneys.

Jeff Humphreys
Jeff Humphreys

Ridiculous. Yet Another reason not to be a traditional student. Are universities of much value to the community, anyway? This might backfire and lead to more nefarious downloading exploits. I seem to recall that students hate losing a "right" more than anything. A lot of kids will go "What? you can download free music? I didn't know that. Well, I wouldn't ever do that, but I don't want the school telling me what I can't do!"

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