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MPAA Overstated Students' Role In Losses Due To Piracy

The MPAA now says that college students account for about 15% of illegal downloads. The group attributed the higher figure to human error.
The Motion Picture Association of America overstated the impact college students' illegal downloads have on the movie industry's bottom line, according to several media reports.

The MPAA has said that college students account for more than 40% of the movie industry's losses due to piracy. This week, the Associated Press reported that the association's math was wrong.

The MPAA now says that college student account for about 15% of illegal downloads and the group attributed the higher figure to human error. The MPAA is one of two groups to blame college students for increases in piracy and loss of revenue. The Recording Industry Association of America also has targeted college campuses, claiming they are responsible for much of the peer-to-peer file-sharing that has cut into profits for record companies and artists.

In addition to conducting their own investigations, filing lawsuits against individuals and targeting specific campuses, both groups have lobbied for federal laws to crack down on piracy at U.S. colleges.

Lawmakers held hearings on the issue last year and considered tying federal education funds to the issue by withholding money from universities that fail to take steps to reduce piracy. The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 was one bill that would have required college administrations to create plans and deploy technology to prevent piracy on their networks.

The Senate unanimously passed the Higher Education Reform Act, which also tied federal higher education funding to efforts to combat piracy. That measure called for the creation of a watch list for the campuses with the highest rates of illegal downloading.

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