Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Universities must be free

Here is one concrete example of what I fear from the dependency that the Democratic Party fosters. In this case, universities are to begin censoring bits, lest all of their students lose the support they have come to depend upon. I fear for the very institution.

Democrats: Colleges must police copyright or else

by Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh
CNET News.com
Nov 9, 2007

I speak from experience. In the 80s, I saw at Stanford a culture where you could be asked to work on a military project with the understanding that "Those who say, 'No', don't get very far." This was my first dose of the reality of where dependency leads.

There were efforts then to try to restrict the free flow of information on research. Stanford at that time, through its relative independence, could insist that it not do classified research in contrast to another Bay Area university, which I shall leave unnamed, at least to my understanding then. Stanford Research Institute would do such classified research, separate from the University, if memory serves.

Universities must be free. The world of ideas must be free. The Enlightenment depends on it.

I'm glad to see that the president of Stanford University, John Hennessy, signed a letter in protest to such draconiana.

According to Aanchal Kapoor of Pomona's The Student Life, the bill in question, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, was approved by a House committee, and,

The U.S. Senate approved its version of the bill in August. If the House version is approved in a vote next month, the two bills will move towards reconciliation.

Update (Mar 20, 2008): This week Ben DuBose wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times on the bill - Privacy provision aims at universities.

Thanks to OpenCongress.org you can follow the progress of the bills in the House HR 4137 and in the Senate S 1642.

Update (Aug 2, 2008):
The Senate passed HR 4137 on July 29. It now awaits the President's signature.

Hat tip: Mashable twitter.

See also: