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Higher Education & Entertainment Industry Discuss Implementation of HEOA Peer-to-Peer Provisions, April 2012

On April 11, 2012, members of the higher education community and representatives from the entertainment industry met in Washington DC for a one-day bilateral forum jointly sponsored by EDUCAUSE and NBCUniversal to explore best practices that have emerged as a result of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) regulations on peer-to-peer file sharing that took effect several years ago. In the negotiations that guided those regulations, EDUCAUSE and the entertainment industry agreed to develop and maintain a list of "role model" campuses whose approaches to copyright-infringement issues were both interesting and diverse. Those approaches were the focus of the Forum.

Intellectual property is central to both higher education and the entertainment industry. Both have a stake in productive, efficient copyright policies and procedures. Even so, the two have somewhat different perspectives on what that means, what the problems are, how best to overcome them, and especially the role campus networks should play.

These different perspectives have yielded diverse initiatives to educate users, to promote compliance, to use technology, and to find an appropriate balance among the interests of various parties. Some of these initiatives have provoked continuing disagreement, some have led to negotiation and compromise, and some have produced useful collaboration.

Participants in the Forum heard from the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and MovieLabs how the DMCA notice and follow-up processes work from the entertainment-industry side.  Reports from Bowling Green University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Reed College, Princeton University, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology then demonstrated different and equally valid ways campuses address the infringement issue and their compliance with the HEOA requirements. Perhaps the key outcomes of the Forum were recognition among the entertainment-industry participants that diverse approaches could indeed address the copyright-infringement problem effectively, and recognition among the higher-education participants that most DMCA complaints result from carefully crafted processes with good safeguards.

That said, we in higher education continue to believe that the entertainment industry's focus on us is disproportionate to what we contribute to the problem, and not an effective use of their or our resources. The entertainment industry, in turn, continues to believe that we in higher education do not take sufficient responsibility for our students' misdeeds. Our colleague Tracy Mitrano, who attended the Forum, recently expanded on this divergence in blog posts entitled "The Grand Bargain," "Machiavelli's Dilemma Resolved," and "A Grander Bargain," and I'm sure others will have further comments on how peer-to-peer and copyright-infringement issues might evolve.

Here's most of who attended: Jon Allen, Baylor; Suresh Balakrishnan, Maryland (System); Linda Bloss-Baum, Time Warner; Jessie Brown, ACE; Joan Cheverie, EDUCAUSE; Larry Conrad, UNC-Chapel Hill; Greg DePriest, NBCUniversal; Ted Dodds, Cornell; Troy Dow, Disney; Myra Einstein, NBCUniversal; Leyla Ezdinli, USC; Matthew Gerson, Universal Music; Kim Goff-Crews, Chicago; Marianne Grant, MPAA; David Green, NBCUniversal; Greg Haledjian, EDUCAUSE; Matt Haschak, Bowling Green; Marc Hoit, NC State; David Hughes, RIAA; Greg Jackson, EDUCAUSE; Jeremy Landis, RIAA; Karl Lutzen, Missouri University of Science & Technology; Kim Milford, Indiana; Tracy Mitrano, Cornell; Lauren Pastarnack, MPAA; Braxton Perkins, NBCUniversal; Rodney Petersen, EDUCAUSE; Marty Ringle, Reed College; Rita Saltz, Princeton; Steven Sather, Princeton; Craig Seidel, MovieLabs; Joe Storch, SUNY-Albany; Ryan Turner, UNC-Chapel Hill; and John Vaughn, AAU.

The forum provided an opportunity for a fair and informative airing of varying viewpoints in an effort to explore best practices that have emerged from the role model schools, to encourage efforts by other campuses, and to exchange ideas on how higher education and the entertainment industry might work more closely together on these issues going forward.

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on this issue.

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