A steady stream of press releases from the MPAA and the RIAA about unauthorized peer-to-peer downloading suggests that college students are digital pirates and campus network officials are engaged in benign neglect. Yet ample evidence confirms that unauthorized P2P downloading is primarily a consumer market problem, not especially tied to college students on campus networks. Moreover, the media companies with strong ties to consumer broadband providers are themselves at least indirectly promoting unauthorized P2P activity. This is not new: Media companies have a long history of seeking remedy (and revenue) from Congressional action, rather than pursuing marketplace solutions.
This presentation will focus on how Big Music and Big Hollywood have targeted colleges and universities via press releases and Congressional lobbying initiatives while largely ignoring the much larger amount of unauthorized P2P file sharing taking place on commercial networks.