Archive:Notes on Response to HR 4137/Draft

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introduce the provision briefly, complement it's strengths and suggest that this problematic issue could potentially hold back the good stuff

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.

note existing statements by univ. leadership

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."


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)

  • Note the variety of situations in which legal copying occurs on a university network:
    • 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)


  • These need to be repositories of freely shareable content, rather than subscriptions to DRM.
    • platform lock-in (ruckus, etc)
    • 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


As it stands now, the P2P provision is vague in which it requires,

Relevant discussions and links to the web