Saturday, October 11, 2003

Will compulsory licensing for downloadable music become part of the fee structure at colleges and universities? Will the academy implement Digital Rights Management systems to police file transfers? These are some of the policy and technical solutions pondered by a new EDUCAUSE committee, (the Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities) whose members (including Jack Valenti of the MPAA and Cary Sherman of the RIAA) will be featured at the General Session of the upcoming annual EDUCAUSE conference (November 6, 2003) in Anaheim, CA. Panel moderated by NPR's Mara Liasson.

The Committee does not suggest that colleges and universities should be required to implement any of the technologies it will discuss. So far, however, their press releases and the Requests for Information (RFI) make only passing mention of the possible positive benefits of P2P and very little mention of any obligation to safeguard student privacy. For some balance, see the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Making P2P legal, the Electronic Privacy Information Center's collection of documents on the RIAA vs. Verizon case, and Siva Vaidhyanathan's four-part series P2P: The New Information War? on Open Democracy.

An excerpt from the Committee's RFI on Technology Opportunities:

5.6.1 Content identification

If the technology is intended to selectively identify communications that represent potential infringements of copyright law, explain in detail how the technology will identify such content. The vendor should specify what categories of content can be identified, for example, compressed audio files, video, images, etc. The vendor should indicate any external content databases that are required.

EDUCAUSE is a higher education information technology association; as of October 11, there are 4,680 annual conference registrants who allowed their names to be displayed on the EDUCAUSE conference site.

See also: RIAA and MPAA - using schools as sales points, Jon Newton's 8/2003 article about this same EDUCAUSE committee on MP3 Newswire, and his later piece, Higher Education & Entertainment p2p report on

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