Tag Archives: Copyright Reform

A Republican feint on copyright?

Originally posted 2012-11-20 19:02:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

View from the Empire State Building

High stakes in copyright reform? Or just desperate puns to justify arbitrary illustrations?

I tried, and perhaps had some success, in making the point right before the election that there were political — as in policy, and as in electoral — questions involving intellectual property that could be affected by the presidential election.  And maybe I was right!

No one knows quite what to make of this story, which doesn’t mean people aren’t saying they do.  This, first, was Friday, November 16th’s story:

A Republican Study Committee policy brief released today to members of the House Conservative Caucus and various think tanks lays out “three myths about copyright law” and some ways to go about correcting what many see as a broken system. Derek Khanna, the RSC staffer who authored the paper, acknowledges an important role for intellectual property while also pointing out how badly the current system has gone off track.

The paper also suggests four potential solutions:

  1. Statutory damages reform — in other words, saving granny the legal headaches
  2. Expand fair use — set those DJs free!
  3. Punish false copyright claims
  4. Heavily limit copyright terms, and create disincentives for renewal

That would be a heck of a start towards making copyright actually incentivize innovation, rather than stifling it, as it most often does today.

It’s great to at least see this issue discussed in a substantive way–complaints about rigid IP protections have until now been limited to folks like Sen. Ron Wyden. Surprise opposition to SOPA excepted, neither party has taken a strong public stance on copyright reform. If the paper suggests a new turn for the GOP on the issue–against the Chamber of Commerce and for Internet companies, DJs, and millions of consumers–that would certainly beat the protectionism of bought-off legislators like Bob Goodlatte (who knew the good people of Roanoke had such a stake in strong IP?). Read the whole thing (it’s only nine pages, and easy to digest) here.

Read More…

In the maw of the beasts – Copyright in Cambridge, this Wednesday

Wasserstein Hall

Wasserstein Hall. of course.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, I will be participating in the statutory damages segment of the “Second Green Paper Roundtable” in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What is he talking about?  It’s hard to explain, really.  Give the PTO credit for not being hung up on slick marketing and stuff.  Here’s the thing:

Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy

In July 2013, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (Task Force), led by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), issued a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper).  The Green Paper calls for new public input on critical policy issues that are central to our nation’s economic growth, cultural development and job creation. It is intended to serve as a reference for stakeholders, a blueprint for further action, and as a contribution to global copyright debates.

Information about the Task Force’s ongoing outreach efforts on the topics identified for further work in the Green Paper is found below.

So the short answer:  It’s the PTO, the Commerce Department, the always-popular NTIA, and Harvard Law School — unbearable lightness, no?

Then, kind of above that — maybe it’s posted blog-style, in reverse chronological order? — there’s this:

The Agenda and Webcast Link for the Second Green Paper Roundtable, June 25, 2014, Cambridge, MA are now available.
To submit comments during the webcast go to http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/questions/USPTO
That’s my part.  Sitting at a table and talking.  It’s even in the Federal Register, every bit as colorful.  If you drill down on that one, however, you’ll see Supplementary Information, which I for one found helpful:
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the Task Force’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper), released on July 31, 2013, and in its later Request for Comments issued on October 3, 2013, the Task Force stated its intention to convene roundtables on certain copyright topics, namely: the legal framework for the creation of remixes, the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment, and the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement. On April 16, 2014, the Task Force announced its plans to hold four roundtables in Nashville, Tennessee on May 21, 2014; Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 25, 2014; Los Angeles, California on July 29, 2014; and Berkeley, California on July 30, 2014.
If you will be in the neighborhood (Wasserstein Hall at Harvard Law School), so will I.  Well, even if you won’t.

Best of 2012: A Republican feint on copyright?

View from the Empire State Building

High stakes in copyright reform? Or just desperate puns to justify arbitrary illustrations?

First posted November 20, 2012.

I tried, and perhaps had some success, in making the point right before the election that there were political — as in policy, and as in electoral — questions involving intellectual property that could be affected by the presidential election.  And maybe I was right!

No one knows quite what to make of this story, which doesn’t mean people aren’t saying they do.  This, first, was Friday, November 16th’s story:

A Republican Study Committee policy brief released today to members of the House Conservative Caucus and various think tanks lays out “three myths about copyright law” and some ways to go about correcting what many see as a broken system. Derek Khanna, the RSC staffer who authored the paper, acknowledges an important role for intellectual property while also pointing out how badly the current system has gone off track.

The paper also suggests four potential solutions:

  1. Statutory damages reform — in other words, saving granny the legal headaches
  2. Expand fair use — set those DJs free!
  3. Punish false copyright claims
  4. Heavily limit copyright terms, and create disincentives for renewal

That would be a heck of a start towards making copyright actually incentivize innovation, rather than stifling it, as it most often does today.

It’s great to at least see this issue discussed in a substantive way–complaints about rigid IP protections have until now been limited to folks like Sen. Ron Wyden. Surprise opposition to SOPA excepted, neither party has taken a strong public stance on copyright reform. If the paper suggests a new turn for the GOP on the issue–against the Chamber of Commerce and for Internet companies, DJs, and millions of consumers–that would certainly beat the protectionism of bought-off legislators like Bob Goodlatte (who knew the good people of Roanoke had such a stake in strong IP?). Read the whole thing (it’s only nine pages, and easy to digest) here.

A lot of this is stuff I have written about here — particularly the misunderstanding about what copyright statutory damages are supposed to be, and the preposterous imbalance in the litigation playing field now favoring IP stakeholders.  But coming from a major party — much less my own?  It was, it seems, to good to be true, except of course for the part where my party isn’t really in a position to push meaningful reform in Washington anyway.

One popular excerpt that ran all up and down the Intertubes was this, which addresses what the paper called three “myths” of copyright that need correcting:

1. The Constitution’s clause on Copyright and patents states [in modern language] that the purpose is to lead maximum productivity and innovation. . . .

Most legislative discussions on this topic, particularly during the extension of the copyright term, are not premised upon what is in the public good or what will promote the most productivity and innovation, but rather what the content creators “deserve” or are “entitled to” by virtue of their creation.”

2. Copyright violates nearly every tenet of laissez faire capitalism. Under the current system of copyright, producers of content are entitled to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsidized content-monopoly.

3. With too much copyright protection, as in copyright protection that carried on longer than necessary for the incentive, it will greatly stifle innovation.

Then this: Read More…