AMENDMENT HARMFUL TO HIGHER EDUCATION
I am writing to ask your help in a matter of urgency to higher education in general and the IT community in particular: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) intends to offer a very harmful amendment, involving illegal file sharing, to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act when the Senate turns to this issue on July 22-23. The amendment:
- Makes the Secretary of Education an agent of the entertainment industry;
- Requires the Secretary to take action using data given to her by the entertainment industry that is terribly inaccurate;
- 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;
- Is aimed only at colleges and universities, and NOT other Internet service providers;
- 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.
It is important that your institution (CEO, government relations official, and yourself) CALL today, not write, your state’s U.S. senators’ staff members for higher education issues and tell them how much higher education opposes this amendment. Please also call Senator Reid’s office (202-224-3542), Senator Edward Kennedy’s office (202-224-4543), and Senator Michael Enzi’s office (202-224-3424). Thank you for your help.
EDUCAUSE will provide you with further information when it is available, but please do not wait to make your calls.