Higher Ed P2P Legislation Passed

Late last week, President Bush signed into law legislation to renew the Higher Education act.  There were some faint rumors (sorry, don’t remember where I read them) that he was not going to sign but he has, albeit without any comment.

In connection with the provisions in the law that pertain to online copyright infringement, ACE and EDUCAUSE have put together a few resources that should prove useful.  First is a memo released a few days ago detailing what the next steps in the legislative process will be as the details in these new provisions are fleshed out.  Second is a free webcast scheduled for Thursday August 21, 2008, at 1:00 PM EDT.  No registration is required; more details can be found here under the “HEA Webcast” tab.

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Ed reported that we are becoming “exasperated” with the RIAA and their actions and tactics.  Shockingly, the article reports that the RIAA is trying a legal tactic that attempts to use an institution’s previous actions against it.  Specifically, an institution that complained in court that it was burdensome to continue to investigate the RIAA’s complaints was told by the RIAA that “everyone else does it” and the institution’s previous compliance was presented as proof that the investigations were not burdensome.  This seems to put colleges and universities in a really bad position because it appears to force them to decide, up front, if they want to comply with every subsequent RIAA notice and demand.  This doesn’t seem right as the RIAA’s argument seems to ignore the issues of scale and changing situations.  It may not have been burdensome to reply to the first few notices; replying to the 100th or 1000th such notice can easily be burdensome.

Like William Patry, I find this all very depressing.