The professors unanimously decided that they would no longer automatically turn over their copyright to publishers, thus allowing them or the university to publish the work online for free.
The (An?) actual motion, via Ivan Krstić:
Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.
Now, I'm not saying Andy is wrong, I'm just saying he spins this to sound much less interesting and innovative than it actually is. I don't even think there is any agenda behind it; Andy just seems to have a reflexive establishmentarian tic. Weird.
Either that, or they are writing about two different motions.
Also, I like the "not sold for a profit" language much better than "for non-commercial use only." The former seems much narrower and clear than the latter, but IANAL.