Higher Education Webinars

Law, Policy -- and IT?

Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).

October 17, 2012 - 9:11am
On the national policy front, or "Big 'P' Policy, both privacy and security issues are rising to the fore.  Do not track mechanisms are, to quote a New York Times recent article on this subject, "features on browsers — like Mozilla’s Firefox — that give consumers the option of sending out digital signals asking companies to stop collecting information about their online activities for purposes of targeted advertising."  The market sector is not happy.  Microsoft is releasing version 10 of its web browser, Internet Explorer, with a default do not track setting; to allow cookies or other tracking requires the user to change the setting.  Business interests have reacted angrily, with the Association of National Advertisers sending Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, an open letter objecting to that decision.
October 12, 2012 - 11:37am
In April of 2001 I began working in the position from which I now write, Director of Information Technology Policy at Cornell. As a law student, I had elected to take a course in intellectual property.  Most of my classmates had engineering degrees and were headed for patent law as a career.  I was another "Eng." major, English Literature, and wanted to know why publishers of the J.D. Salinger biography had pulled it before it hit the shelves.  Turns out, the author had included full texts of letters Salinger had written a long-term lover.  The author had access to the letters, but she did not have the copyright in them.  A fair use defense would not have sufficed under the circumstances.  Consequently, the publishers removed the letters before publication.
October 11, 2012 - 1:33pm
We need to rethink the fair use doctrine by adding transformative works as they have been defined in United States case law to the existing four factors that are already codified, and expand its overall usage, especially in the area of not-for-profit educational endeavors.
October 10, 2012 - 11:44am
Last week a colleague at Cornell asked me to give a talk to his class on intellectual property. I found myself explaining the historical dynamics behind the American Revolution, Constitution and a free-market political economy. "Unless you were a pirate," I said, "you could not trade anywhere in the world from England without a license."  Another quote:  "The first law to establish exclusive rights, a monopoly in copyright, dates back to 1557 when Elizabeth I squelched counterfeiters use the new technology, the printing press, to manufacture fraudulent documents for everything, including Royal charters to trade.
October 9, 2012 - 2:02pm
For the last decade, higher education has spent considerable and increasingly scarce funds defending itself from the publishing and entertainment industry, which, if they are sincere in their belief that it is colleges and universities causing their problems, both faculty and students, they would do well to listen carefully to the comments yesterday.
October 8, 2012 - 11:57am
At the end of September I attended and spoke at a conference at the United States Consulate General in Florence, Italy on "Piracy and Counterfeiting in a Digital Environment: U.S. and Italian Experience."
September 24, 2012 - 9:02am
A quick slice through the NYT yesterday disclosed two articles that raise interesting issues: Who Built the Internet and Free Speech.
September 12, 2012 - 11:43am
The Institute for Computer Policy and Law is in its seventeenth year. Like all good girl scouts, it has made "new friends, and keeps the old, one is silver and the other gold!" This year we shared organization with my colleagues Oya Rieger and Kornelia Tancheva of the Cornell University Library to bring our legal and policy acumen to pressing academic questions such as scholarly publishing, copyright, Internet privacy, academic integrity and teaching and learning, to name just a few highlights.
August 22, 2012 - 7:34pm
A week or so ago, I decided to write about academic integrity because of the plagiarism reports about MOOCs.  For anyone following the posts, the first was a recounting of my first experience with plagiarism as a teaching assistant 30 years ago.  Yesterday's was a broad stroke report about how technology disrupted the traditional balance between the policy and practice.
August 21, 2012 - 10:12am
That the Internet is a game changer is well-known phenomenon. In fact, the word most usually associated with this phenomenon is "disruptive," and it is a good one because more times than not it is truly a neutral, descriptive term. Depending on what side of the fence you are on at the time of the disruption, you might think it either a good or bad thing.  Think content industry: bad. Think people without money who want access to content: good. Of course, life, law and technology are infinitely more complicated than those Manichaeism terms, but you get the idea. Let's see how it applies to academic integrity.

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