At a hearing today (Oct. 5) in Washington, D.C., two House copyright champions applauded the recording industry and the university community for their joint efforts over the last 17 months to rein in

At a hearing today (Oct. 5) in Washington, D.C., two House copyright champions applauded the recording industry and the university community for their joint efforts over the last 17 months to rein in peer-to-peer sharing of unauthorized music.

At this date, 27 major U.S. universities, such as Yale and the University of California at Los Angeles, have partnered with digital companies to offer legitimate music services to students, licensed at reduced rates. Per-student rates for unrestricted access are usually about $3 a month.

Rep. Lamar S. Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., the subcommitee's ranking Demcratic member, were particularly impressed by the strides made at UCLA. At that school, not only are legitimate music services now provided to students, but an enforcement measure tips off administrators if particular campus-owned computers are being used to download illegal music files. Students using the computers are then advised that their activity is illegal; repeat offenses could result in loss of broadband privileges or even suspension.

Graham Spanier, president of Penn State and co-chair of the Joint Committee of Higher Education and Entertainment Communities Technology Task Force, told the lawmakers that there are clear indications that more colleges may employ legitimate campus online services. He admitted, however, that some university administrators have not made changes yet "because they feel, 'We're not in the entertainment business.' "

"A lot of progress has been made," Smith commented. "But we have a long way to go. I plan to hold more hearings about this issue in the next Congress to monitor developments and progress."