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Republicans Cave on Copyright Reform

I was ecstatic when I read this yesterday.

the Republican Study Committee expresses support for expanding fair use, treating the reduction of statutory copyright damages as a kind of tort reform, punishing false copyright enforcement claims, and limiting copyright terms to twelve years, with increasingly expensive extensions available for no more than 34 years.

It is the most radical proposal for overhauling copyright that we have seen in recent years — and the most head-turning change of direction in decades for either party on intellectual property issues.

This would have been a major step forward for the Republican party in two crucial areas. First, it's an issue that is important to many younger voters, a demographic that has little affection for Republicans. Second, it would have demonstrated that the Republican party is something other than a reflexive protector of big businesses.

Sadly, the Republican Study Committee withdrew their brief within 24 hours.

”Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.”

Yes, the Republican Party has just caved to a major big business (Disney) representing a major industry (Hollywood) that hates Republicans. In the process, angering many younger voters and technology savvy voters. How, exactly, do the idiots running the party think that this will help them out? This only proves, again, that the Republican party protects big businesses no matter and cares nothing for other Americans.

Worse, our cultural heritage is rapidly disappearing. Virtually the entire cultural output of the 20th and 21st centuries—movies, music, art, literature—is locked up in restrictive copyright. All of these works will be lot forever, unless the copyright owner sees a clear, commercial benefit to keeping these works available. Copyright reform—and limiting the term of copyright—is a vital part of preserving our cultural heritage.

From a political, cultural, and policy standpoint, this is an absolutely stupid decision. I'm furious with the Republican Study Committee and the craven cowardice that they've spinelessly demonstrated.

This entry was tagged. Copyright Reform

Enough, Already: The SOPA Debate Ignores How Much Copyright Protection We Already Have - Margot Kaminski - Technology - The Atlantic

Enough, Already: The SOPA Debate Ignores How Much Copyright Protection We Already Have - Margot Kaminski - Technology - The Atlantic →

Margot Kaminski, for The Atlantic.

Over the past two decades, the United States has established one of the harshest systems of copyright enforcement in the world. Our domestic copyright law has become broader (it covers more topics), deeper (it lasts for a longer time), and more severe (the punishments for infringement have been getting worse). These standards were established through an alphabet soup of legislation: the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, and the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008. And every few years, there's a call for more.

Many features of existing U.S. copyright law are harsh by international standards. The U.S. penalizes the attempt to access digital material against a rights-holder's wishes, even when the material itself is not protected by copyright. We guarantee large monetary awards against infringers, with no showing of actual harm. We effectively require websites to cooperate with rights-holders to take down material, without requiring proof that it's infringing in court. And our criminal copyright law has such a low threshold that it criminalizes the behavior of most people online, instead of targeting infringement on a true commercial scale.

I'd say there's a strong argument to be made that we should be weakening U.S. copyright law—not strengthening it.

This entry was tagged. Copyright

McCain seeks special 'fair use' copyright rules for VIPs

I didn't need any more reasons to dislike John McCain. But I have another one anyway. Continuing his general theme of believing that government employees are just plain better than regular folk, he wants copyright law to favor politicians over everyone else.

(Via McCain seeks special 'fair use' copyright rules for VIPs.)

John McCain's presidential campaign has discovered the remix-unfriendly aspects of American copyright law, after several of the candidate's campaign videos were pulled from YouTube.

McCain has now discovered the rights holder friendly nature of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forces remixers to fight an uphill battle to prove that their work is a "fair use."

However, instead of calling for an overhaul of the much hated law, McCain is calling for VIP treatment for the remixes made by political campaigns.

McCain's proposal: complaints about videos uploaded by a political campaign would be manually reviewed by a human YouTube employee before any possible removal of the remix. The process for complaints against videos uploaded by millions of other Americans would stay the same: instant removal by a computer program, and then possible reinstatement a week or two later after the video sharing site has received and manually processed a formal counter-notice.

Just one more reason to vote for Bob Barr this year.