Difference between revisions of "Archive:Notes on Response to HR 4137/Draft"

From FreeCulture.org
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 1: Line 1:
== Introduction ==
+
''Insert Salutation''
  
introduce the provision briefly, complement it's strengths and suggest that this problematic issue could potentially hold back the good stuff
+
Presently, two bills in Congress represent important legislative efforts to help students manage the rising cost of higher education in the U.S. Unfortunately, a few ill-conceived paragraphs among hundreds of pages threaten to undermine the efficacy of this important work. Embedded among writing that will crucially renew and update the Higher Education Act of 1965, both The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007 (H.R.3746) and The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R.4137) include amendments that could unneccesarily hinder the use of academic computer networks. During the last few weeks, leaders representing the University System of Maryland, Stanford University, Yale University, The Pennsylvania State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have issued statements requesting review of these proposed amendments. As students, we too wish to voice concern that a valuable piece of legislation is not compromised because of an unfortunate addendum in dire need of clarification.
  
Students and teachers who oppose HR 4137's illegal file-sharing provision do so out of a concern of what its language will encourage and how this will change the culture of our universities and their neutral networks. HR 4137 goes beyond the progress made through the Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities (JCHEEC) in that it mandates that universities 'explore' technological deterrents, which means filtering. The JCHEEC not only represents the work of universities and their own agreed best practices but also entertainment concerns, such as the RIAA, Warner Music Group, and the MPAA.  
+
The proposed bills charge institutions with developing plans for identifying the purpose and character of data transmissions across campus computer networks. Unfortunately, this type of monitoring is technically impracticable, unreasonably costly, and, most important, beyond the scope of an institution of higher education. Of all the data that is copied across a university network, one will find works from the public domain, large data experimental sets, works whose license permits copying, and those creative works protected by copyright for use in research or the classroom. To date, computer programs have not been able to match the nuanced manner in which a U.S. judge applies the balancing test of Fair Use to a particular instance of copying. For this reason, any attempt to implement a technical deterrent to copyright infringement on academic networks unfairly burdens lawful users by compromising their privacy and slowing traffic.  
  
note existing statements by univ. leadership
+
Some universities have contracted with private digital media distribution services to encourage lawful downloading of works protected by copyright. We have found these services generally inadequate for the needs of an academic institution. If a university provides a service that requires its users to commit to a particular computing platform for participation unfairly affects competition in the marketplace and abuses its institutional power. If that service also implements Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how its customers use the digital media they download, it necessarily constrains the non-commercial and educational use of those creative works. Contracts with commercial media distribution services such as these limit the ability of the university to effectively serve its students.
  
In their statement of purpose and scope they come to the conclusion that universities will "seek ways to reduce the inappropriate use of P2P technology without restricting free speech and expression, invading privacy, or limiting the legitimate uses of P2P.
+
Introducing any new technical initiative on a college or university campus incurs costs in the form of hardware, software, and personnel. Even software provided free-of-cost will require maintenence. To offset these expenditures, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would create new grant opporunities for needy institutions. Rather than transfer federal money to private industry via higher education, we believe that the funding for such grants is better spent in support of efforts to promote lawful storage and sharing of cultural works. Academic institutions should be encouraged to participate in projects like the Internet Archive that exist for the express purpose of providing a digital library for historical scholarship.
  
== Concerns ==
+
Since 1965, higher education has become an important step toward financial stability and mobility for young people in the U.S. According to last year's census data, more than a quarter of adults 25 years or older had earned at least a Bachelor's degree and, on average, these graduates earned almost twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. Yet as the value of a college degree has risen, so has the cost of tuition. Renewing and extending the provisions of the Higher Education Act is essential to continued intellectual development in the United States. We strongly urge our legislators to look closely and critically at the two proposed bills to ensure that institutions of higher learning may continue to perform their mission unhindered.
  
Not all of those making copies of copyrighted works over a network are illegally infringing a copyright. Especially at universities there are many uses currently being used in and outside of classrooms that fall under Fair Use. Likewise, it's certainly legal to make a backup of material that you have been licensed. (example of what a paragraph would look like here)
+
''Insert Valediction''
  
* Note the variety of situations in which legal copying occurs on a university network:
+
== References ==
** fair use
 
** public domain
 
** cc
 
** other non-(c) licensed material (e.g. experimental data)
 
* Filtering would have to distinguish between Fair Use and infringement : impossible
 
* Not w/in mission of University to be responsible for this - their purpose is to encourage learning. The proposed interferes with that mission
 
** does not push forward the efficacy of the university project
 
* Costs are very high for monitoring/ filtering/ managing this effort
 
** hardware costs
 
** even gratis software requires upkeep, maintenance
 
** more work for IT / admin
 
* Vague language in bill
 
** re: use of "theft"
 
** advocate for clarification among various unauthorized uses
 
** unauthorized is one possible neutral word
 
** the text of this bill should not determine the legality of activities on a network, thus neutral language is necessary
 
* Blocking legit traffic
 
** fair use
 
** moving large data (slow down)
 
  
== Alternatives ==
+
[1] H.R.3746 - College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007 http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h3746/show
  
*These need to be repositories of freely shareable content, rather than subscriptions to DRM.
+
[2] H.R.4137 - College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007
** platform lock-in (ruckus, etc)
+
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h4137/show
** drm prohibits fair use
 
** drm incompatible with university mission
 
** imposing a single commercial
 
* We should advocate for a distinction between alternatives such as Napster and alternatives such as The Internet Archive.
 
* Ideally, the legislation would not require any for-profit DRM-laden service, but only a obligation to encourage free culture on campus. This is our definition of "alternatives".
 
* Vague language could be interpreted in a way that supports to free culture
 
  
== Conclusion ==
+
[3] The Higher Education Act of 1965
 +
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_Education_Act_of_1965
  
As it stands now, the P2P provision is vague in which it requires,
+
[4] Earnings Gap Highlighted by Census Bureau Data on Educational Attainment
 
+
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/009749.html
== Relevant discussions and links to the web ==
 
 
 
*http://www.aau.edu/intellect/JointP2PCMR.pdf
 

Revision as of 08:16, 19 November 2007

Insert Salutation

Presently, two bills in Congress represent important legislative efforts to help students manage the rising cost of higher education in the U.S. Unfortunately, a few ill-conceived paragraphs among hundreds of pages threaten to undermine the efficacy of this important work. Embedded among writing that will crucially renew and update the Higher Education Act of 1965, both The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007 (H.R.3746) and The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R.4137) include amendments that could unneccesarily hinder the use of academic computer networks. During the last few weeks, leaders representing the University System of Maryland, Stanford University, Yale University, The Pennsylvania State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have issued statements requesting review of these proposed amendments. As students, we too wish to voice concern that a valuable piece of legislation is not compromised because of an unfortunate addendum in dire need of clarification.

The proposed bills charge institutions with developing plans for identifying the purpose and character of data transmissions across campus computer networks. Unfortunately, this type of monitoring is technically impracticable, unreasonably costly, and, most important, beyond the scope of an institution of higher education. Of all the data that is copied across a university network, one will find works from the public domain, large data experimental sets, works whose license permits copying, and those creative works protected by copyright for use in research or the classroom. To date, computer programs have not been able to match the nuanced manner in which a U.S. judge applies the balancing test of Fair Use to a particular instance of copying. For this reason, any attempt to implement a technical deterrent to copyright infringement on academic networks unfairly burdens lawful users by compromising their privacy and slowing traffic.

Some universities have contracted with private digital media distribution services to encourage lawful downloading of works protected by copyright. We have found these services generally inadequate for the needs of an academic institution. If a university provides a service that requires its users to commit to a particular computing platform for participation unfairly affects competition in the marketplace and abuses its institutional power. If that service also implements Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how its customers use the digital media they download, it necessarily constrains the non-commercial and educational use of those creative works. Contracts with commercial media distribution services such as these limit the ability of the university to effectively serve its students.

Introducing any new technical initiative on a college or university campus incurs costs in the form of hardware, software, and personnel. Even software provided free-of-cost will require maintenence. To offset these expenditures, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would create new grant opporunities for needy institutions. Rather than transfer federal money to private industry via higher education, we believe that the funding for such grants is better spent in support of efforts to promote lawful storage and sharing of cultural works. Academic institutions should be encouraged to participate in projects like the Internet Archive that exist for the express purpose of providing a digital library for historical scholarship.

Since 1965, higher education has become an important step toward financial stability and mobility for young people in the U.S. According to last year's census data, more than a quarter of adults 25 years or older had earned at least a Bachelor's degree and, on average, these graduates earned almost twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. Yet as the value of a college degree has risen, so has the cost of tuition. Renewing and extending the provisions of the Higher Education Act is essential to continued intellectual development in the United States. We strongly urge our legislators to look closely and critically at the two proposed bills to ensure that institutions of higher learning may continue to perform their mission unhindered.

Insert Valediction

References

[1] H.R.3746 - College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007 http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h3746/show

[2] H.R.4137 - College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h4137/show

[3] The Higher Education Act of 1965 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_Education_Act_of_1965

[4] Earnings Gap Highlighted by Census Bureau Data on Educational Attainment http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/009749.html