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Comment Why and how CIO's created this trap (Score 4, Interesting) 175

The problem that college CIO's (and CTO's) are describing are, as the "exasperation" article suggests, very much of their own making, but the article, and most likely the information officers themselves, is misstating the origin of the problem, and that may be complicating their legal responses.

The fundamental problem is that colleges have been hiring the wrong people into CIO/CTO positions and giving them the wrong mission. College CIO's fundamental job is to provide reliable information services on a limited (often far too limited) budget. People are hired into these positions for their willingness and ability to reduce costs while maintaining security and a high quality of service on the campus. In my experience (and I have had a number of them), they are perfectly willing to sacrifice the educational mission of the college and the freedom of educators to accomplish that mission if it will save a few dollars.

In the early part of this decade the RIAA's tactics worked perfectly with the goal of cost control. Large music and video downloads were overwhelming campus gateways and forcing ever larger expenditures on maintaining them. Blocking the ports most commonly used for music and video downloads was an easy solution to this cost problem, so the RIAA provided an excuse for cutting costs. A series of RIAA initiatives that played to CIO cost cutting and revenue enhancement were all easy to adopt.

The take down notices were another story. CIO complaints about having to devote personnel to this task started immediately, and it is getting worse as the costs grow. Legal costs are particularly problematic, especially if they get billed to the CIO's budget. With the costs of RIAA enforcement spinning rapidly out of control, CIO's are caught in a difficult trap of their own devising, and complaining that costs are an issue now will not impress judges who see a precedent in prior complience with RIAA demands.

The only way out of this mess is for colleges to do exactly what one of the judges suggested: to execute take downs without an investigation such that a student can sue the university and the RIAA for a abrogation of their rights, preferably as a class action. The universities could potentially then join the students in suing the RIAA, arguing that the RIAA forced them to abandon due process at the insistence of the courts, largely because Universities can't afford to do the RIAA's investigations for them, but RIAA evidence is often weak and inconsistent.

I don't know if this can be done (the details of this are a lawyers job to sort out), but I doubt that AG's are going to be able to help much given the precedents that colleges have alredy set for the wrong reasons. An avalanche of investigations forced on the courts might lead the courts to start to set the standards of evidence that the RIAA has to meet before filing a take down to begin with.

The real problem is that no such standard currently exists.

The other solution, of course, is legislation. LOL.


Submission + - Tech support neutrality in copyright wars?

kegs_with_legs writes: "I've heard many horror stories from friends about private tech support businesses, such as Geek Squad, threatening to submit reports to the RIAA/MPAA (through whatever corporate channels are already implemented), about copyrighted material the tech guy found on the computer while attempting to service it. Is this fair? Should people be afraid to have their computers serviced for fear of getting slammed with a subpoena?"
The Internet

Submission + - So we just closed all our libraries. Good or bad?

mrcpu writes: "Voters in Jackson County, OR just pulled the plug on funding their library system, opting to close all the branches (all built brand new within the last few years, 15 of 'em), rather than cutback. Of course, this has created much division in a couple areas. One is that "I have the Internet, what do I need a library for"? With pro's and con's to each side. The other issue was the funding mechanism, with the loss of some federal funding, the county leaders decided to attempt to strongarm a levy with no backing. But be that as it may, in this day,
and age, are libraries useful? Do we still need them? Do you buy most of your books? Have you been to a non-school/university library recently? Did using a library change your life in any significant way? Or are they an anachronism, and a throwback to a day when information wasn't readily available?"

IBM and Sun Launch Intranet Metaverses 123

wjamesau writes "Sun and IBM have launched intranet metaverses designed for business and built to work behind their corporate firewalls, so their worldwide employees can use them to collaborate together. Most interesting to game developers, IBM (which also runs a private, no public access Second Life island as a development lab) created their intranet world from the 3D Torque engine from Garage Games. Will the metaverse actually be thousands of gated community metaverses?"

Submission + - Eben on the Microsoft Patent Threat

ballmerfud writes: I am sure that by now everyone is tired of hearing about the Microsoft patent FUD, but Eben Moglen, professor of law and head honcho at the Software Freedom Law Center, touched on this issue just last week in a speech he gave in San Diego. Eben's statement is so eloquent and succinct that it might be worthwhile for those who haven't found it by other means to hear it. In this clip he explains the in-depth mechanics of the MS patent threat and specifically how it relates to the Novell deal. The intent is essentially to threaten open source developers while simultaneously evading any backlash from enterprise customers (and even make a buck from it). This may be nothing new to many here, but Eben explains it beautifully. 07-eben-moglen-on-microsofts-summer-of-fear/

Submission + - When does a cyber-attack lead to conventional-war?

Nymz writes: A recent wave of cyber-attacks has been directed at multiple Estonian institutions, including government ministries, political parties, news organizations, and banks. The scope of attacks suggest the entire country is the target, and with no clear solution for dealing with this type of situation, one has to wonder if an escalation to a conventional-attack or war is far off.

Submission + - SPAM: Herpes could save your life from plague

FiReaNGeL writes: "Mice with chronic herpes virus infections can better resist the bacterium that causes plague and a bacterium that causes one kind of food poisoning, researchers report in this week's Nature. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis attributed the surprising finding to changes in the immune system triggered by the long-term presence of a latent herpes virus infection. In latent viral infections, the virus is present for the lifetime of the host in a relatively quiescent form that does not cause overt symptoms."
The Internet

Submission + - Internet Captures Half/50% of Spare Time

Ant writes: "This eMarketer article reports that broadband users spend almost half their spare time in a typical weekday online according to a report. The average broadband user spent an hour and 40 minutes of her typical weekday spare time online. Over half of that time online was devoted to entertainment and communication. The study also noted a range of users' spare time activities, and found that e-mail and personal Web surfing trumped TV/televsion viewing. Seen on Digg."

Submission + - SPAM: 100% pregnant women have pesticide in the placenta

FiReaNGeL writes: "A doctoral thesis published recently analyzes the presence of organochlorine pesticides — normally used as pesticides — in the organisms of pregnant women. The results are alarming: 100% of these pregnant women had at least one pesticide in their placenta, but the average rate amounts to eight different kinds of chemical substances! According to the researchers, "we do not really know the consequences of exposure to disruptive pesticides in children, but we can predict that they may have serious effects, since this placenta exposure occurs at key moments of the embryo's development"."

Submission + - What Happened to XGI Technology?

Talthor writes: It was first in 2003 that XGI Technology had made their appearance with a Volari Duo V8 Ultra and then their manufacturing and design had continued with a V3XT and other low end graphics cards. While XGI never really gained much market share, in 2005 they had released their 2D driver code. But where is XGI Technology today? According to Phoronix: "XGI Technology once presented a glimmer of hope to desktop users wishing to find a cheap yet reliable discrete graphics card with official open-source drivers. Thanks in part to IBM, the XGI open-source driver is becoming a reality, but with XGI having refocused their business operations on the embedded and server markets, the days of XGI on the desktop are no more."

Submission + - Hubble finds ghost ring of dark matter

The Bad Astronomer writes: "Astronomers announced today that they have found a giant ring of dark matter surrounding a cluster of galaxies 5 billion light years away. The ring was probably formed when one cluster collided with another, and we're seeing it right down the line-of-sight. There was a lot of speculation on /. about this, but this article should clear it all up."

Submission + - So Ya Wanna Make A Game?

Riley Munoz writes: "Hey Slashdot, Game Almighty rounds up a selection of software for all you gamers dying to brew your own FPS legend or RPG saga; without having to break the piggy bank or hack The Matrix. Sample paragraph: "...create 2D RPG's in the classic Japanese style... Extremely easy to use and very robust, you'll find the act of creating your game world deceptively simple, thanks to the interface's use of a tile system. This allows you to simply drag-and-drop graphics on to the map, unleashing your creativity along the way..." /So_Ya_Wanna_Make_A_Game-1/ Thanks for any links! Riley Munoz -Community Manager"

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