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The Northwest Academic Computing Consortium Workshop
The Northwest Academic Computing Consortium (NWACC) comprises colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and nearby areas. Founded in 1987, NWACC's mission is to foster communication and collaboration among its member institutions on the development and use of advanced technology for instruction, research, and administrative operations. It offers a number of programs and workshops to assist its members in addressing information technology issues in higher education. Its most recent workshop, What Every IT Leader Needs to Know About Information Technology, Law, and Policy, was hold in Portland, OR, May 15-17, 2013. The goal of the conference was to inform information technology managers and aspiring managers about legal and policy issues that affect their work.
Privacy and Information Management Forum
The 2013 Privacy and Information Management Forum (PIM) was held on Friday, May 10, 2013, at the George Washington University Law School. The forum is jointly sponsored by the George Washington University Law School and Cornell University and its focus is privacy and information management in higher education. This year’s forum topic focus sought answers to the question: In the era of "big data," what privacy related issues to you see emerging at your institution or in higher education?
The introductory panel was streamed and is available at: http://new.livestream.com/PIM/ConferencePanel. The panel was entitled, What Higher Education Can Learn About Privacy Programs from the Government and For-Profit Sector and featured:
Two Copyright Items of Note
On April 24, 2013, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) announced that the Committee would conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law over the coming months. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the current law is still workable in the digital age. Many believe that the existing copyright law lags behind the rapid pace of technology, forcing policymakers to make decisions based on outdated rules.
ECPA Reform Bill Proceeds to Full Senate
Today, April 25, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out of committee a bill to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). On a voice vote, the Committee approved the ECPA Amendments Act of 2013 (S. 607) co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). The bill, which has broad bi-partisan support, would require the government to obtain a warrant from a judge before gaining access to the contents of email or documents stored in the cloud.
Where Campus Policy Discussions are Taking Place
The story in the The Chronicle of Higher Education about Harvard University’s recent controversial e-mail searches going further than previously reported sparked a lot of discussion on the EDUCAUSE Policy Discussion list. An excerpt from the Chronicle article was posted to the list:
Also at the meeting, Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, said she had determined that the university’s policies regarding electronic communications were “highly inadequate.” She announced that she was asking an outside lawyer to review the e-mail investigations and determine whether all the facts were known. She also announced the appointment of a task force to develop recommendations on e-mail privacy.
MOOCs and Intellectual Property: Ownership and Use Rights
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become the buzzword these days. Besides the interest and the hype associated with MOOCs, campuses are having serious discussions about the opportunities and challenges that these online courses pose. The EDUCAUSE Executive Briefing, What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs, highlights a number of key issues for colleges and universities to understand about MOOCs, including intellectual property (IP) concerns. MOOCs may not be as open as is suggested in the name when it comes to the topic of IP/copyright. As noted in the Briefing, “Some commercial MOOC platforms have highly proprietary terms and conditions that claim ownership of course content and prohibit sharing or remixing of material.”
Copyright Alert System Utilized in Infringement Lawsuit
The Copyright Alert System (CAS), which is a partnership between copyright owners and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), went into effect on February 25, 2013. The goal of the CAS is to cut down on illegal peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material and is devised to be an educational program. (See EDUCAUSE blogs on February 26, 2013, October 23, 2012, April 5, 2012, and July 5, 2011 for background information.
The Next Great Copyright Act
On March 20, 2013, Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet where she advocated for an update to the copyright law. Her testimony was based on her recent lecture at the Columbia Law School entitled the “Next Great Copyright Act.”
Highlights from her testimony included:
First Sale is Affirmed by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court issued its opinion, on March 19, 2013, in a case heard last fall that has implications for higher education. The question before the Court was - How do Section 602(a)(1) of the Copyright Act, which prohibits the importation of a work without the authority of the copyright’s owner, and Section 109(a) of the Copyright Act, which allows the owner of a copy “lawfully made under this title” to sell or otherwise dispose of the copy without the copyright owner’s permission, apply to a copy that was made and legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States?
ECPA Reform Update: House Hearing and Senate and House Bills Introduced
ECPA reform is an important topic for Congress this session. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has championed this reform and says that it is an important agenda item for the Committee. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) said that modernizing the privacy act to "reflect our current digital economy" will be a priority for his committee.