[tforum] [Fwd: OSHEAN's concerns regarding Sen. Harry Reid's amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act]

Joe Breen Joe.Breen@utah.edu
Mon, 23 Jul 2007 16:34:23 -0600

FYI, for those that are following the discussions between the education 
groups and the entertainment industry regarding some of the potential 

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Fwd: OSHEAN's concerns regarding Sen. Harry Reid's amendment
to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act]
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 13:28:18 -0400
From: George Loftus <george.loftus@oshean.org>
To: discuss@thequilt.net

I am sure you all saw the message that Hud forwarded from Mark Luker
requesting an URGENT call for action regarding Sen. Harry Reid of
Nevada's proposed amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act
that would impose Campus-based Digital Theft Prevention requirements on
institutions of higher education.

I have been talking with RI's senators to make them aware of just how
harmful this amendment could be.   I have provided a copy of my
correspondence with a staffer in Senator Jack Reed's (D-RI) Washington

I also offer the following two URL's to articles of interest.

Here's an article from today's Insider Higher Ed.  At the bottom are
some interesting facts, some from the RIAA:

Also there is a good article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed today:


If you are in a position to contact your Senators' offices I would
encourage you to do so today, as this matter is likely to be brought up
in the Senate  either today or tomorrow.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	OSHEAN's concerns regarding Sen. Harry Reid's amendment to the
Higher Education Reauthorization Act
Date: 	Mon, 23 Jul 2007 12:20:59 -0400
From: 	George Loftus <george.loftus@oshean.org>
Reply-To: 	Self <George.Loftus@OSHEAN.org>
To: 	seth_Gerson@Reed.Senate.Gov, Nancy_Langrall@reed.senate.gov

Mr. Seth Gerson
Office of Senator Jack Reed
Washington, DC

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dear Seth,

First let me thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about
Sen. Harry Reid's amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act
regarding Campus-based Digital Theft Protection.   As you requested I am
sending this email to provide you with some information on the concerns
that we in higher educaction, especially those of us who deal with
Information Technology (IT), have regarding the requirements that will
be imposed should this amendment be passed.

  We are concerned that the amendment:

*  Effectively makes the Secretary of Education a de facto agent of the
entertainment industry;

*  Requires the Secretary to take action using data given to her by the
entertainment industry that is terribly inaccurate and not verified by a
neutral third party.   Institutions of Higher Education spend a
significant amount of time today working with the entertainment industry
on such allegations, and find much of their data to be incorrect;

*  Requires targeted colleges and universities to plan for implementing
a "technical solution" to illegal file sharing that does not yet exist
for many campus environments. We have been working with the
entertainment industry to evaluate such technologies and all agree there
are no products available today that will adequately provide a technical
solution without impeding the performance of our networks. Such a
requirement could seriously hamper innovation at our campuses, which
would have a detrimental affect on basic scientific research and
innovative economic development;

*  Puts a burden on  colleges and universities that is NOT being placed
on other Internet service providers. In today's world of extensive
broadband capacity to many homes in this country, it is naive to think
that the majority of theft of intellectual property is occurring only on
college campuses.  In fact, the amount of intellectual property that is
illegally obtained from students on college campuses is only a small
fraction of the amount obtained throughout the Internet.  These
draconian measures will only serve to diminish the capabilities or our
students, educators, and researchers while failing to solve the larger
problem of intellectual property theft that occurs throughout the
broader Internet community;

*  Ignores the fact that the higher education and entertainment
communities are working together to develop a mutually acceptable
technological solution to illegal file sharing, a process that should be
allowed to continue without interference from the Federal government;

*  Ignores the fact that the bill already contains a provision that
requires all colleges and universities to submit an annual report to the
Secretary of Education providing details of the education and
enforcement strategies being used on campus to reducing illegal
file-sharing; and

*  Is yet another attempt by the Federal government to dictate the
day-to-day operations of colleges and universities.

As you may know, Rhode Island's institutions of higher education have
made a strong commitment to work together through the OSHEAN (pronounced
"ocean") consortium to ensure our state has the robust networking
infrastructure required to move us forward in the innovation economy.
OSHEAN is dedicated to building, through the use of innovative
practices, a communications infrastructure that will serve the needs of
Rhode Island's institutions of higher education, state and federal
government agencies, non-profit research organizations, workforce
development initiatives, and economic development efforts now and in the
future. OSHEAN is committed to developing network expertise among its
member organizations and to creating an environment that encourages
collaboration through shared resources, information and expertise.

We have worked diligently to address the concerns of the entertainment
industry by educating our students about the laws surrounding copyrights
and by offering students legal alternatives for obtaining digital music
at no charge to the student or the institution.  *As of the Spring 2007
semester we had over 15,236 students from 10 institutions of higher
education in RI legally download over 5,376,457 songs, further  proving
that our sincere efforts to address this serious situation are meeting
with great success without the need for any legislative mandates. *

We appreciate your consideration of these concerns, and our efforts to
address the very serious issue of copyright law violations.  We hope
that you will support our continued efforts to work with our students
and the entertainment industry to find a mutually agreeable method of
prevention that does not require the onerous burden of legislative


George K. Loftus
Executive Director
6946 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
401-886-0887 x201