House Passes Bill Addressing Higher Ed and Online Copyright Infringement

I’m sure that everyone interested in this topic already knows that last week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4137 the College Opportunity and Affordability Act.  This is the legislation that includes a section not only requiring colleges and universities to report to students their online copyright policies but also “develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”  The Senate version of the legislation does not include that language so this will have to be worked out between the House and the Senate before the final bill can be sent to the president.

In related news, it appears that Rep. Berman (D-CA) is stepping down from his position as chair of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.  He has been a very strong supporter of the music and movie industries.  We can only hope that Berman’s departure will start to bring this subcommittee closer to a balance between protection of copyright and the rights of citizens.