The Software Regulation Clearing House

The Software Regulation Clearing House is an initiative designed to track the governmental regulation of software development.

The Software Regulation Clearing House (SRCH) is an initiative designed to track the governmental regulation of software development. It was made possible by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The SRCH collects in one place information about statutes, administrative regulations, and case law–Federal, State, and, to a lesser extent, Foreign–that either mandate or prohibit particular features or functionality in software. Some examples include the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), Broadcast Flag, and proposed Spyware legislation.

This project is at the intersection of education, scholarship, and entrepreneurship, and takes an academic approach to tracking the type and extent of software regulation. Silicon Flatirons’ Paul Ohm, a professor of Criminal Procedure, Intellectual Property, and Computer Crime Law initially conceived of the SRCH, and worked with other Silicon Flatirons faculty to make it a reality. After receiving the prestigious Kauffman Foundation grant, Ohm formed an Advisory Board, which includes computer programmers, individuals from the Denver/Boulder entrepreneurial community, and academics from Colorado’s Computer Science department and Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. With Ohm’s leadership, and input from the Advisory Board, this important initiative has unfolded in two key phases.

The Alpha Phase spanned from June to December 2006. It emphasized substantive collection of information and software regulation. With the help of student assistants in the law school, more than 450 software regulations have been collected, analyzed, and included in a database. These regulations are found in 92 separate laws written at both the state and federal levels and written by both legislatures and regulatory agencies. The Alpha Phase also involved the initial design and testing of an SRCH website.

The SRCH is now in its Beta Phase. Students continue to add regulations, while also collecting Analysis Memos. These memos are, in essence, scholarly writing illuminating some of the important aspects of the laws and regulations included in the SRCH. Some of the memos are harvested from other sources, while others are written by CU Law students, and reviewed by Silicon Flatirons Professors.

The other key component of the Beta Phase involves selecting a final design for the website. The website is currently being tested by members of the faculty, students, and programmers across the country. Silicon Flatirons is proud to announce that the final SRCH site will be rolled out later this semester.

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