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Universities and Libraries Offer a Plan for Public Access to Research

The Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) have collaborated to offer a plan to expand public access to research.  The plan, called Shared Access to Research Ecosystem (SHARE), is in response to the White House directive to federal agencies to make their funded research more widely available.    As the plan states:

The HathiTrust Case and Appeal: Fair Use and Technology

In October 2012, Judge Harold Baer of the U.S. District Court in New York ruled in favor of the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) and its university partners in a copyright infringement suit brought by the Authors Guild (AG) and other groups. In his ruling the judge dismissed the AG’s arguments that the HathiTrust had violated copyright law by making scanned works available for certain uses.  The plaintiffs have filed an appeal in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  (Note: For an extended examination of the case see the EDUCAUSE Policy Brief on this topic.)

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:  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.

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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.

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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.

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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:


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