The Digital Policy Institute (DPI) was started in 2004 under a Provost Initiative Grant written by Dom Caristi and Alan Richardson, both of the Department of Telecommunications (TCOM), and Robert Yadon, of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS). The DPI focuses on and is a catalyst for research and education on issues relevant to digital media. Purpose: The purpose of the institute is to serve the Ball State University academic community as an interdisciplinary association of faculty with a collective research interest in the structure of, and competition within, electronic communications industries and the public policy of digital creation, storage, transmission, reception, consumption, and legal protection of information of various forms, including written, voice, data, still images, video, and computer graphics, in the 21st century. Mission: The mission of the institute is to foster a mutually beneficial relationship among faculty of various disciplines across the Ball State University campus by: (1) promoting the active participation and involvement of Ball State faculty in public policy research related to the information age (2) serving as a vehicle to support faculty research in the areas of law, regulation, economics, and technology as they relate to public policy issues of local, state, and national interest (3) establishing a collegial environment that will foster critical thinking across disciplines on national public policy issues (4) promoting student involvement and immersion in timely public policy research questions at the graduate and undergraduate levels across various disciplines. In fulfilling this mission, the institute will ensure that all of its efforts and activities are consistent with the university's mission, values, strategic objectives, policies, and procedures. DPI is involved in hosting symposia, workshops, and roundtables on current, highly relevant issues in the industry of digital media. By addressing the issues behind intellectual property, DPI will raise the level of awareness on this campus (and, by extension, nationally) about what constitutes intellectual property theft, rationalizations about it, and models for protecting digital rights.
DPI Fellows are frequently called on to comment on current issues in digital policy. Members have been quoted by local, state, national and even international media. Fellows have provided testimony in policymaking decisions and filed comment at the Federal Communications Commission. Fellows have conducted workshops for state regulators, spoken at national conferences and to trade associations. The institute focuses on such topics as file-sharing (i.e. software, music, and video), copyright and trademark infringement, broadband deployment, online privacy, and e-voting as well as other issues related to digital media and intellectual property. DPI research is made available publicly through the website and disseminated to relevant audiences.DPI's goal is to be a neutral entity on issues allowing all sides of an issue to present their cases. DPI, through its neutrality, looks to present society with the information from all sides and allow society to ultimately make an educated decision about these digital issues.
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