case western reserve university



Higher Education Opportunity Act: Policy and Security?

October 22, 2008

Last week (October 17) Case sent out an "all-campus" email notification concerning peer to peer (P2P) copyright infringement. This notice of our practices was sent as part of the University's risk communication program to address potential misuse of any P2P technologies in the domain of copyright infringement; and is part of the University's response to new legislation in the Higher Education Opportunity Act that contains new legal language pertinent to P2P copyright infringement.

The email notice is intended to keep Case Users aware of their obligation under the Acceptable Use of Computing and Information Technology Resources. An additional security awareness site addresses the most pressing issues that the campus community of users can use to keep themselves appraised of the issues at hand.

On October 15, the University provided testimony of the Chief Information Security Officer before the Department of Education public comment period before the negotiated rulemaking takes place. This most recent session is available at the Cuyahoga Community College webcast site. The three testimonies pertinent to the P2P discussion are found at the time marks:
1:15:50 Tom Siu, Case CISO
1:35:28 Nick York, of Tucker, Ellis, & West, on behalf of the RIAA
3:01:00 Rob Bird, owner of Red Lambda, maker of Integrity, an anti-P2P technology product.

The three domain representatives shared their opposing view points, with Mr. York making a case for the recording industry, Mr. Bird promoting his technology product, and Case's CISO making points about the technology 'cat and mouse' game and urging DOE to keep the P2P rule making from creating a combative relationship between the University and its customers.

A similar review of the HEOA hearing in Washington, DC, on October 8, 2009 can be found at Educause.

Oh, by the way, what will this new effort cost colleges and universities? That topic never came up. Nobody wants to whine, but this article quotes projections by K.C. Green that the industry-driven enforcement plan could cost $350-500k per institution, per year. I would expect that cost to be reflected in increased tuition and fees.

Better data are needed to determine what is going to work. Based on the June 2008 study from the University of Washington showing the DMCA monitors finding printers and various network devices in the 'guilty' box for illegal P2P, the conclusions being proffered by the entertainment and media industries lack objective foundations.

With the demise of Ruckus, what are the "legal alternatives"? The free market will solve this problem, because when a real market void exists, a product will always be found to fill the void.

Posted by Thomas Siu at 09:17 AM

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