Updates on Old Topics and Quickies

I’m as settled into my new place and job as I will get so I hope to resume substantive posts soon. In the meantime, here are a few updates on topics previously discussed here and a few quickies:

  • Lawsuits against college and university students accused of downloading or sharing mp3s continue and institutions continue to ratchet up the stakes for students accused of copyright infringement. Are institutions really getting more strict about this issue or are those who are instituting harsh punishments simply the ones who attract the media reports? And are they doing it in part to attract those media reports (“Look, we’re trying to do something about this! Didn’t you read about it in the newspaper?”)? Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the issue from the MPAA, the EFF has released a report entitled “RIAA v. the People: Four Years Later” (pdf file).
  • Universities and colleges have often (and rightly) complained that most of the congressional attention regarding copyright infringement has unfairly focused on them. No worries. Some in Congress are eager to attempt to do foolish things to regular Internet Service Providers, too.
  • One of the threads in our recent discussion regarding Facebook advertisements has focused on a shared desire to more accurately target Facebook users. Either we’re starting to see progress on this front or there were developments of which we were previously unaware (likely both). Not only are there applications built to specifically address this issue, Facebook is working to build this into their own ad system.
  • Among the lessons learned from Virginia Tech are many related to communications and technology. In addition to Virginia Tech’s official overview, the Roanoke Times has an overview of Virginia Tech’s internal reviews. Of specific interest is the Information and Communications Infrastructure Group report (147 page pdf). The two main recommendations in the report are to (a) install a “new fully integrated digital campus architecture for all telecommunications functions based on Internet Protocol (IP)” and (b) “make selected research and administrative IT capabilities available to local first responders to improve radio communications capabilities.”