Tired of suing deceased West Virginia grandmas and 12-year-old girls one at a time, Hollywood copyright hawks are looking into wholesale options, including rewriting higher education legislation:

A U.S. House of Representatives committee plans to vote Wednesday afternoon on a Hollywood-backed higher education bill that would deprive colleges and universities of their financial aid funding if they don't agree to provide deterrents and "alternatives" to peer-to-peer piracy.

A provision buried in the 747-page College Opportunity and Affordability Act (PDF) requires schools to devise a plan for providing "alternatives" to unlawful downloading--as well as "a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity." Those requirements would be added to an existing list of conditions for receiving federal student financial aid.

Universities full of little copyright criminals are nervous:

University officials have voiced alarm at the prospect of losing a combined total of some $100 billion in federal financial aid if their plans don't pass muster. The Association of American Universities has voiced its disapproval to committee leaders through a letter last week, and Educause, a non-profit organization that focuses on technology use in education, has issued an action alert urging the requirements to be dropped.

More on the perils of stolen music here and here.