Acacia Releases Second Wave Aimed at Colleges and Universities
So, if every college and university decided to sit quietly and wait for Acacia to come after them, it would take years for Acacia to successfully challenge even half of the hundreds and thousands of schools out there. This is why some colleges have taken just that tack, sticking their heads in the proverbial sand and hoping that Acacia goes after the more vocal opponents first.
While this may work in the short-term, EDUCAUSE, an association for college and university computer centers, recommends against taking Acacia’s letters in stride. "Our strong advice is that (a) they take such letters seriously, and (b) they refer the letters immediately to their campus legal offices," says Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs at EDUCAUSE. "It's easy for people to confuse patent-infringement letters such as Acacia's, which need professional legal attention, with DMCA copyright-infringement notices, such as those sent by the RIAA, which can frequently be handled within the IT department."
Schools that have already received letters can visit and/or join organizations like ACE and EDUCAUSE to learn more and share their experiences with their peers. "EDUCAUSE’s role is to help make sure schools treat these notices appropriately," says Worona. "We will also facilitate campuses working together and exchanging information, and also facilitate their contact with legal resources that may provide needed advice." Steinbach says only that ACE, which represents more than 1,800 schools, is "trying to help our schools deal with this complex matter."
The most distressing aspect of Acacia’s latest move, some say, is the potential impact it might have on the quality of education for today’s college students. "On some campuses, where the use of this technology is not yet of great importance," says Worona, "I can imagine the decision being made to abandon it rather than devoting the time and money required to research and respond to the claim. On other campuses, where the curriculum is heavily dependent on streaming technology, that won’t be an option."
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