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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?

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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. 

Copyright Alert System Goes into Effect

A copyright protection system, enforced by the major Internet service providers (ISPs), went into effect on February 25, 2013.  The Copyright Alert System (CAS), which is a partnership between copyright owners and ISPs, was first announced in 2011, but implementation has been delayed.  The goal of the CAS is to cut down on illegal peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material.  (See EDUCAUSE blogs on October 23, 2012, April 5, 2012, and July 5, 2011 for background information.)

Increasing Access to Federally Funded Scientific Research: Initiatives from the White House and the Congress

A new bill mandating Open Access to federally-funded research was just introduced into both houses of Congress.  Entitled the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research ACT (FASTR), it was introduced on February 14, 2013 in the Senate (S. 350) by John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and in the House (H.R. 708) by Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS). 

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America’s Call for Higher Education Redesign

The most recent Lumina Foundation and Gallup report, "America's Call for Higher Education Redesign," was released on February 5, 2013.  The findings suggest that the respondents acknowledge the critical role of postsecondary education in employment and financial stability, but think the current model is flawed.  Three-quarters said college is unaffordable, and more than half said the quality of higher education is the same as or worse than in the past.

Some of the questions addressed in the study are:

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EDUCAUSE Groups Briefed on ECPA Reform and Its Implications for Higher Education

As part of Data Privacy Month on January 29, 2013, Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and the Director of its Project on Freedom, Security & Technology, briefed EDUCAUSE’s Higher Education Chief Privacy Officers group and the Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) Working Groups on Government, Risk, and Compliance and Technologies, Operations, and Practices on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (

FTC Issues New Report on Mobile Privacy Disclosures

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report on February 1, 2013 that says it wants — but is not mandating — makers of mobile operating systems, app developers, and advertisers to be provide "timely, easy-to-understand disclosures about what data they collect and how the data is used."  In the report, "Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency," the FTC said that most consumers are concerned, and often confused, about how mobile privacy operates.  "More than other types of technology, mobile devices are typically personal to an individual, almost always on, and with the user," the FTC said in the report. "This can facilitate unprecedented amounts of data collection."

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Data Privacy Day 2013 Event

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on helping all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online, kicked off Data Privacy Day 2013 with a forum at the George Washington University Law School, along with Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen and other privacy and security experts from AT&T, Facebook, Intel, MasterCard, Microsoft and the federal government.  The theme of the event was "Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, and Enabling Trust."  The forum explored a wide range of issues including respecting privacy, safeguarding data, privacy innovation, and the implications for personal information in the digital age and the mobile environment.

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Latest Google Transparency Report Shows over Half of Government Requests are Warrantless

Google’s Transparency Reports are a semi-annual compilation of requests Google receives from governments around the world for Internet user data. The reports are an effort by Google to keep users informed about the data requests and how often it complies with them. (Note: See this EDUCAUSE blog for background information.)

Privacy and Security are High on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Agenda for the New Congress

On January 16, 2013, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, set out the agenda of the Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress with updates to key legislation, including laws on email privacy and cybersecurity. Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a law that Sen. Leahy wrote and guided through the Senate in 1986, continues to be an important issue for the Committee.  Leahy has also been involved with cybersecurity issues and has authored legislation that would stiffen penalties for hackers. 

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