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:
- Statutory damages reform — in other words, saving granny the legal headaches
- Expand fair use — set those DJs free!
- Punish false copyright claims
- 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.