Following Mark K.’s lead in succumbing to some mid-Summer zaniness….

It appears Appalachian State University, located up in the North Carolina mountains [MAP], is also HOT! HOT! HOT!

Click to watch.

On a more serious note, what fearful impulse lead ASU to add a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) link to the bottom of each of their web pages? Students are even directed to ASU’s designated DMCA enforcement agent to report on their fellow students violations:

Appalachian State University has designated an agent to receive notification of alleged copyright infringement.

Judith Walker
Academic Computing Services
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC, 28608
828-262-6272

email: dmca@appstate.edu

There must be an interesting [1] backstory [2] here for an academic institution to knuckle under to an act that the Electronic Frontier Foundation describes thus:

In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright infringement. As a result, the DMCA has developed into a serious threat to several important public policy priorities:

The DMCA Chills Free Expression and Scientific Research.
Experience with section 1201 demonstrates that it is being used to stifle free speech and scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have chilled the legitimate activities of journalists, publishers, scientists, students, programmers, and members of the public.

The DMCA Jeopardizes Fair Use.
By banning all acts of circumvention, and all technologies and tools that can be used for circumvention, the DMCA grants to copyright owners the power to unilaterally eliminate the public’s fair use rights. Already, the movie industry’s use of encryption on DVDs has curtailed consumers’ ability to make legitimate, personal-use copies of movies they have purchased.

The DMCA Impedes Competition and Innovation.
Rather than focusing on pirates, many copyright owners have wielded the DMCA to hinder their legitimate competitors. For example, the DMCA has been used to block aftermarket competition in laser printer toner cartridges, garage door openers, and computer maintenance services. Similarly, Apple invoked the DMCA to chill RealNetworks’ efforts to sell music downloads to iPod owners.

The DMCA Interferes with Computer Intrusion Laws.
Further, the DMCA has been misused as a general-purpose prohibition on computer network access which, unlike most computer intrusion statutes, lacks any financial harm threshold. As a result, a disgruntled employer has used the DMCA against a former contractor for simply connecting to the company’s computer system through a VPN.

Unintended Consequences: Seven Years Under the DMCA

ASU, that’s not so hot, hot, hot…

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