March 1, 2007

RealID Fight Brewing [6:05 pm]

DHS Confirms Real ID Act Regulations Coming; States Rebel

Events at the state and federal level are converging around the Real ID Act, as a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security confirmed Feb. 28 that regulations outlining technology mandates could be handed down as early as March 1.

At the same time, as many as 38 states, under a coalition formed by Missouri Representative Jim Guest, have confirmed that they will rebel against the act through legislation in their own states.

See also Real ID Act postponed two years - pdf

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Po-ta-to, po-tah-to [4:29 pm]

Europe threatens new Microsoft fines - pdf

The European Union escalated its trans-Atlantic fight with Microsoft Corp. on Thursday, threatening new multimillion fines against the software maker over claims it is asking rivals to pay too much for information that would help their servers work with Windows.

In response, Microsoft charged that the treatment it received from the EU is unprecedented and harmed Europe’s efforts to become a thriving high-tech economy.

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Parenting In The Internet Age [8:02 am]

Or does the existence of this article suggest a more complex agenda? The secret life of Cory Kennedy - pdf

Put it this way: By the time Cory Kennedy’s mother realized that her child had become, in the words of Gawker.com, an “Internet It Girl,” the Web was riddled with photos of Cory posing, eating, dancing, shopping, romping at the beach, looking pensive and French-kissing one of the (adult) members of the rock band the Kings of Leon. She had European fan sites. She had thousands of people signing on to her MySpace pages. She had fashion bloggers dissecting her wardrobe (”a cross between the Little Match Girl and the quintessence of heroin chic,” one wag called her taste in fashion). She had people watchers from the Netherlands to Japan speculating about her life story. (Was she a junkie? A refugee from Hyannis Port?) She had designers begging her to wear their clothes and deejays offering her money to show up at their nightclubs. She had invitations to party with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

She was living, in short, a teenager’s dream and a parent’s version of “Fear Factor.” And the obvious questions—at least for her mother—were, “What happened? And how?”

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Sure, That’s Definitely Why I Picked A Career In Academia [7:43 am]

From Inside Higher Ed: Campus Downloading Crackdown

The music industry is ramping up its campaign against illegal file sharing by college students — and asking campus administrators to play a more central role in that process.

Since late 2003, when entertainment companies began suing people for sharing large amounts of music (and eventually movies) over the Internet in violation of federal copyright law, the Recording Industry Association of America has filed about 1,000 of its 18,000 lawsuits against students. In a new strategy it announced Wednesday, the association said it will send 400 “pre-litigation” letters each month (a total of 5,000 a year) offering students the chance to settle at a “substantially discounted” rate what they owe for downloading music illegally and to keep the association from filing lawsuits that would appear on their public record.

The RIAA’s letters will go to administrators at colleges and universities to deliver the notices to the appropriate students, and the first batch of 400 letters went out Wednesday to officials at 13 universities, mostly large public ones (see list at bottom). Students who don’t respond within 20 days will face lawsuits.

[...] While students are the ultimate targets, college officials have a responsibility and a role to play, too, Sherman said. “We take this opportunity to once again ask schools to be proactive to step up and accept responsibility for the activities of students on their networks. It’s not a legal responsibility, but a moral responsibility, as educators, as leaders transmitting values to their students.”

The file sharing issue has been a thorny one for many college and university administrators, who see themselves as having a responsibility to limit an illegal activity taking place on their campuses (an activity that can also clog their networks), yet aren’t thrilled about having to play technology cop to their students on the entertainment industry’s behalf.

Don’t miss this piece of sophistry from U of MD’s Chancellor Brit Kirwin:

Kirwan also said colleges’ dependence on intellectual property gives them added responsibility. “It would be very hypocritical of us to argue for protection of intellectual property that is coming from our enterprise,” in the form of scholarship, “and look the other way when people are abusing property rights on our own campuses.

Even worse — the RIAA “education” program is making some headway (from Record labels go after USC downloaders; pdf)

But others, such as Christina Carey, 19, believe that the industry has the right to go after students who illegally download.

“They’re getting robbed,” said Carey.

She said she never illegally downloaded music, but acknowledged there was a thin line between sharing and pirating. Carey makes CDs for friends, she said, but some of them won’t accept copies of CDs even as gifts.

Also Industry Pressure on Music Piracy; much later (March 8), Hiawatha Bray gets around to covering it: Record firms crack down on campuses (pdf). <sarcasm>As is typical for his work, he includes this deep insight:

Eric Garland, chief executive of BigChampagne Media Measurement in Beverly Hills, Calif., thinks the RIAA’s latest gambit is meant to goad colleges into cracking down on file piracy. “The real intent of this new focus on students is probably as much about applying pressure on college and university administrators to clean up their networks, as it is about students.”

</sarcasm> Hey, at least he included it!

Later: A House judiciary subcommittee hearing - Hearing: “An Update – Piracy on University Networks”

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