Friday, November 16, 2007

An Open Letter To My Congressman, Anthony Weiner

Dear Congressman Weiner,

You may or may not know that just recently H.R. 4137 made it out of committee. While the bill as a whole does not bother me in the slightest, I must turn your attention to Section 494, "Campus-Based Digital Theft Prevention", which remains intact.

The following is a quote from a letter to Senator Miller, the sponsor of HR 4137, from various universities in our country:

...it is our understanding that the consequences of the Secretary deciding that a targeted institution has failed to prevent illegal file sharing would be loss of Title IV student aid eligibility. Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their Federal financial aid [emphasis added] including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century economy. Lower income students, those most in need of Federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal.


- http://tinyurl.com/2wrc2e (URL to full letter)


As a low income student who needs the Pell grant for tuition and living expenses, I fear that the unfair policy of "one ruins it for the rest" will reign supreme here. Furthermore, Sec. 494 of H.R. 4137 forces colleges to deter illegal file sharing by purchasing subscriptions to legal digital music outlets, like Napster and Rhapsody, for all students. Sec. 494 allows grants to be issued to the colleges to cover the expenses for these subscriptions, but I believe these funds would be better used in other education-related faculties instead of feeding the money-hungry behemoth known as the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)

I urge you, Mr. Congressman, to vote against H.R. 4137. I admit I sound hypocritical when I say one section of this bill ruins the rest of it, but it's for the best, it's for the future workforce of America.

Thank you for your time.


A freshman from Queens College (CUNY) and a REGISTERED VOTER,

Jonathan Ace Wienclaw

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