Gigi Sohn from Public Knowledge was our after-dinner speaker. Gigi talked about the file-sharing provisions in the recently passed Higher Education Reauthorization Act and how the work that the higher-ed community did last year to get those provisions struck from the original bill language didn’t hold up when the language reappeared in a subsequent version. She contrasted that with the success of the copyright-reform community in getting the FCC to censure Comcast for interfering with the use of BitTorrent by their customers.
Gigi noted several differences in the two efforts and came up with some recommendations for future efforts in organizing activity around legislative policy efforts, including keeping constant pressure on telling the story to mainstream media, mobilizing the grass roots, enlisting allies from the commercial sector, and more (wish I had had a note pad with me at dinner).
Gigi also proposed forming a task force of university presidents to work on national IT policy issues for higher education. Sounds like a very timely idea to me. It was a great talk that left me energized about poliy issues for the first time in a long while.