MPAA anti-piracy campaign targets colleges & Google

The MPAA is on a quest to aid the US government in censoring the internet, with the latest targets of their propaganda campaign being the nation’s colleges and universities as well as Google’s internet search operations.

Last week, the MPAA sent an open letter addressed to college presidents and copied to campus chief information officers to help them “ensure that [the] institution is abiding by the law.”

MPAA anti-piracy campaign targets colleges & Google

The letter contains a link to a website that summarizes how to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, and points to legal sites from which to obtain music and video content.

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“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,” reads the letter signed by MPAA top lawyer Daniel M. Mandil. The closing paragraph states that the association “will be forwarding notices related to our members’ movie and television content, in order to make you aware of specific instances of illegal activity on your campus’ network.”

Copyright expert Peter DeCherney, who is also an assistant professor of cinema studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, says that the letter, which is an obvious change from the association’s former heavy-handed and threatening tactics, is an attempt to sway colleges to comply with the MPAA’s own interpretation of the HEOA. He predicts this new attitude will do a much better job of swaying college officials to do what the MPAA asks of them.

Also last week, MPAA interim president Bob Pisano spoke out in support of Google’s announced changes designed to fight the “bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.” He also pledged to work together with the company to help them quash the sites on their list of “notorious markets” for piracy.

“We are encouraged by Google’s recognition of the responsibility of all participants in the online world to help combat online content theft. We look forward to Google’s implementation of its announced reforms,” said Pisano in a press statement.  “We also look forward to working with Google to address other important issues, including Google’s listings and rankings of notorious pirate sites as places to go to get movies that are still only in the cinema and other illegal content.”

The problem with the MPAA’s actions is not that they are attempting to combat illegal activity, but rather the underhanded tactics they have a history of using to get their way. They have repeatedly spread misinformation and spent millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers to fight for their agenda. If internet censorship does take place it should at least be based upon fact and logical reason. The information the MPAA is spreading is neither.

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