Congress is worried about all those college students who are sharing digital files and, as they usually do when they’re concerned, are holding hearings.

But it’s pretty clear that the committee members are pretty much clueless when it comes to the subject. Especially when you get this from the chairman.

Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) said that laws will not be enough to curb piracy. “Technology will be the first line of defense,” he said.

He’s right about the laws. Dead wrong about the technology.

Even if Congress critters don’t understand, the kids certainly know that if a file is distributed in digital form, it can be copied and redistributed.

However, there were a few people at the session who understand that education needs to play a big part in solving this problem.

But others warned of a costly “arms race” with students who are technically savvy and already capable of defeating many of the technological solutions on the market. Dr. Greg Jackson, VP and CIO of the University of Chicago, said that his school focuses on educational approaches to curbing piracy, and they have also seen successes that, when described, sound quite similar to that at the University of Utah [where they use a technological solution].

“The only successful, robust way to address problems that involve personal responsibility and behavior is with social rather than technological tools,” he said. “If we instead try and restrict behavior technologically… the only result will be an arms race that nobody wins.”

Nothing can ever completely end the illegal copying of media. Nothing.

If artists and media companies want to reduce piracy they need to create good products, price them fairly, and make it easy for people to use them on any device they own.

congress, fair use, digital media, piracy