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EDUCAUSE Letter on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Sent to Judiciary Committee (11/21/11)

On November 21, 2011, EDUCAUSE sent a letter to Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee offering a perspective from higher education on the Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R. 3261 (SOPA), and asking that the letter be made part of the 11/16/11 hearing record (see http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_11162011.html). The letter states that, although the goal of SOPA to respond to copyright infringement is appropriate, the proposed bill introduces "sweeping new risks for and imposes new responsibilities on mainstream websites that offer legitimate online services, including those hosted by colleges and universities."

Four areas of the SOPA are identified in the letter as being particularly problematic; the letter also references the separate document, Higher Education Concerns About the Stop Online Piracy Act ("SOPA"), with Initial Suggestions for Addressing Them, that expands upon these concerns and provides proposed changes that would reduce or eliminate these problems.

EDUCAUSE Policy is in the process of drafting suggested language changes that would address some of the concerns in order to make those available to the Committee members, as well. These will be added to the EDUCAUSE site once they are available.