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

From FreeCulture.org
Jump to: navigation, search
 
(12 intermediate revisions by 5 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
''Insert Salutation''
 
''Insert Salutation''
  
Presently, two bills in Congress represent important legislative efforts
+
Two bills currently pending in the House of Representatives are important legislative efforts to help students manage the rising costs of higher education in the U.S. Unfortunately, a few paragraphs among hundreds of pages threaten to undermine the efficacy of these important bills. Embedded among writing that will crucially renew and update the Higher Education Act of 1965 [1], both The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007
to help students manage the rising cost of higher education in the U.S.
+
(H.R.3746) [2] and The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R.4137) [3] include amendments that could unnecessarily hinder the
Unfortunately, a few ill-conceived paragraphs among hundreds of pages
+
use and efficiency of academic computer networks. These amendments would increase the costs of education by burdening universities with impossible technical challenges. 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. [4] As current university students, we too wish to voice our concern that a valuable piece of legislation not be compromised by an unfortunate addition.
threaten to undermine the efficacy of this important work. Embedded
 
among writing that will crucially renew and update the Higher Education
 
Act of 1965 [1], both The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007
 
(H.R.3746) [2] and The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007
 
(H.R.4137) [3] include amendments that could unnecessarily 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 not be compromised by an
 
unfortunate and misguided addition.
 
  
The proposed bills charge institutions with developing plans for
+
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 educational missions of institutions of higher education. Among the data that is copied across a university network, one will find works from the public domain, large experimental datasets, works whose licenses permit copying, and creative works protected by copyright used in research or the classroom. Because computer programs have not been able to match the nuanced manner in which a judge must apply the fair use balancing test to each alleged instance of copyright infringement, technical deterrents to infringement on academic networks unfairly burden lawful users by compromising their privacy and greatly slowing network traffic.
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 creative works protected by copyright used in research or
 
the classroom. Since computer programs have not been able to match the
 
nuanced manner in which a judge must apply the balancing test of fair
 
use to each particular instance of copying, 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
+
Some universities have contracted with private digital media distribution services to encourage lawful downloading of works protected by copyright. Many have found these services inadequate for the needs of an academic institution. In particular, a service that requires students to commit to a particular computing platform unfairly impacts competition in the marketplace and hinders students' ability to freely use and experiment with various technological platforms and tools. If those services also implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how customers use the digital media they purchase, it necessarily constrains the non-commercial and educational uses of those creative works. Contracts with commercial media
distribution services to encourage lawful downloading of works protected
+
distribution services therefore limit the ability of colleges and universities to effectively serve their students.
by copyright. We have found these services generally inadequate for the
 
needs of an academic institution. A service that requires students to
 
commit to a particular computing platform unfairly affects competition
 
in the marketplace. 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 a college or
 
university to effectively serve its students.
 
  
Introducing any new technical initiative on a college or university
+
Introducing any new technical initiative on a college or university campus also incurs significant costs in the form of hardware, software, and personnel. Even software provided free-of-cost will require maintenance and technical support. To offset these expenditures, H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would create new grant opportunities for needy institutions, to be spent on filtering software, hiring and training new staff, or initiating contracts with private media downloading services. While we believe that federal funding would be better spent in support of projects like the Internet Archive that explicitly encourage scholarship, research, and a respect for the rights of creators, [5], Congress should consider the long-term downstream impact of imposing additional administrative burdens on institutions of higher education and simultaneously biasing the market in favor of any particular supplier or form of technology.
campus incurs costs in the form of hardware, software, and personnel.
 
Even software provided free-of-cost will require maintenance. To offset
 
these expenditures, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would
 
create new grant opportunities for needy institutions, to be spent on
 
filtering software, hiring and training new staff, or initiating
 
contracts with private media downloading services. While we believe
 
that federal funding would be better spent in support of projects like
 
the Internet Archive that explicitly encourage scholarship, research,
 
and a respect for the rights of creators, [4], Congress should think
 
hard before biasing the market in favor of any supplier.
 
  
Since 1965, higher education has become an important step toward
+
Higher education is a crucial step toward financial stability and mobility for young people and vital to the maintenance of the United States' competitive advantage in global trade and innovation. According to last year's census data, more than a quarter of adults twenty-five years or older had earned at least a Bachelor's degree and, on average, those graduates earned almost twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. [6] Yet as the value of a college degree has risen, so has the cost of tuition. [7] Renewing and extending the provisions of the Higher Education Act are essential to continued intellectual development and innovation in the United States. We strongly urge our legislators to look closely and critically at the two proposed bills to ensure that our institutions of higher learning may continue to effectively perform their missions unhindered by harmful and unnecessary regulations.
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. [5] 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 missions unhindered.
 
  
  
 
''Insert Valediction''
 
''Insert Valediction''
 +
 +
== Endorsements ==
 +
* [http://www.freeculturenyu.org Free Culture @ NYU]
 +
* Northeastern FC
 +
* Harvard Free Culture
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
Line 81: Line 32:
 
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h4137/show
 
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h4137/show
  
[4] About the Internet Archive
+
[4] Letter Opposing the Inclusion of the Entertainment Industry Proposal on Illegal File Sharing in the HEA, November 7, 2007
 +
http://www.aau.edu/education/Ltr_Higher_Ed_Joint_Cmte_House_P2P_Provision_11-7-2007.pdf
 +
Letter from Jerrold M. Grochow, Vice President for Information Services & Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, October 31, 2007
 +
http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/CSD5216.pdf
 +
 
 +
[5] About the Internet Archive
 
http://www.archive.org/about/about.php
 
http://www.archive.org/about/about.php
  
[5] Earnings Gap Highlighted by Census Bureau Data on Educational Attainment
+
[6] Earnings Gap Highlighted by Census Bureau Data on Educational Attainment
 
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/009749.html
 
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/009749.html
 +
 +
[7] College Costs Rising at Double the Inflation Rate
 +
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/education/21cnd-tuition.html
 +
 +
[8] College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2007
 +
http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/news_info/trends/trends_pricing_07.pdf

Latest revision as of 00:26, 12 August 2016

Insert Salutation

Two bills currently pending in the House of Representatives are important legislative efforts to help students manage the rising costs of higher education in the U.S. Unfortunately, a few paragraphs among hundreds of pages threaten to undermine the efficacy of these important bills. Embedded among writing that will crucially renew and update the Higher Education Act of 1965 [1], both The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2007 (H.R.3746) [2] and The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R.4137) [3] include amendments that could unnecessarily hinder the use and efficiency of academic computer networks. These amendments would increase the costs of education by burdening universities with impossible technical challenges. 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. [4] As current university students, we too wish to voice our concern that a valuable piece of legislation not be compromised by an unfortunate addition.

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 educational missions of institutions of higher education. Among the data that is copied across a university network, one will find works from the public domain, large experimental datasets, works whose licenses permit copying, and creative works protected by copyright used in research or the classroom. Because computer programs have not been able to match the nuanced manner in which a judge must apply the fair use balancing test to each alleged instance of copyright infringement, technical deterrents to infringement on academic networks unfairly burden lawful users by compromising their privacy and greatly slowing network traffic.

Some universities have contracted with private digital media distribution services to encourage lawful downloading of works protected by copyright. Many have found these services inadequate for the needs of an academic institution. In particular, a service that requires students to commit to a particular computing platform unfairly impacts competition in the marketplace and hinders students' ability to freely use and experiment with various technological platforms and tools. If those services also implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how customers use the digital media they purchase, it necessarily constrains the non-commercial and educational uses of those creative works. Contracts with commercial media distribution services therefore limit the ability of colleges and universities to effectively serve their students.

Introducing any new technical initiative on a college or university campus also incurs significant costs in the form of hardware, software, and personnel. Even software provided free-of-cost will require maintenance and technical support. To offset these expenditures, H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would create new grant opportunities for needy institutions, to be spent on filtering software, hiring and training new staff, or initiating contracts with private media downloading services. While we believe that federal funding would be better spent in support of projects like the Internet Archive that explicitly encourage scholarship, research, and a respect for the rights of creators, [5], Congress should consider the long-term downstream impact of imposing additional administrative burdens on institutions of higher education and simultaneously biasing the market in favor of any particular supplier or form of technology.

Higher education is a crucial step toward financial stability and mobility for young people and vital to the maintenance of the United States' competitive advantage in global trade and innovation. According to last year's census data, more than a quarter of adults twenty-five years or older had earned at least a Bachelor's degree and, on average, those graduates earned almost twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. [6] Yet as the value of a college degree has risen, so has the cost of tuition. [7] Renewing and extending the provisions of the Higher Education Act are essential to continued intellectual development and innovation in the United States. We strongly urge our legislators to look closely and critically at the two proposed bills to ensure that our institutions of higher learning may continue to effectively perform their missions unhindered by harmful and unnecessary regulations.


Insert Valediction

Endorsements

References

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

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

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

[4] Letter Opposing the Inclusion of the Entertainment Industry Proposal on Illegal File Sharing in the HEA, November 7, 2007 http://www.aau.edu/education/Ltr_Higher_Ed_Joint_Cmte_House_P2P_Provision_11-7-2007.pdf Letter from Jerrold M. Grochow, Vice President for Information Services & Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, October 31, 2007 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/CSD5216.pdf

[5] About the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/about/about.php

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

[7] College Costs Rising at Double the Inflation Rate http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/education/21cnd-tuition.html

[8] College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2007 http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/news_info/trends/trends_pricing_07.pdf