consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From the Republicans, startling and innovatve thinking that gained much web-wide praise.

A GOP staffer, Derek S. Khanna, (, authored a short nine-page review of how copyright law might be reformed to be less Draconian, and more friendly to innovation in the nation, with, of course, consequent job creation.

The memo is online, both here and here, and below is a screen capture of the opening three pages so you can click on each image to read and gain an impression of the thought processes displayed:

That item gained online praise, Bloomberg here, Slash-dot here, Free Republic here, TechDirt here, BoingBoing here, even American Conservative touting the memo on Nov. 16 here, stating in opening paragraphs:

It’s often said that the Republican Party as an institution is generally more pro-business than pro-market, and that implies a host of things; energy subsidies, tax loopholes, and though it often goes unmentioned, strong intellectual property protection.

The pro-IP lobby in Washington is strong, though perhaps the new presence of the Internet Association, a lobbying group comprised of web companies, could put some counter-pressure on lawmakers.

But from a policy standpoint, in an age when the RIAA sues grannies and innocent parents of torrenting children to intimidate file-sharers, and tech companies waste billions on patent trolling, perhaps it might be time for the GOP to consider a more authentically laissez faire approach.

Another online pdf memo-text link often given on the web, from the Republicans themselves:

Please check out the links for a clear idea of how such innovative thinking can, surprisingly, arise in Republican channels of public communication, and how such an approach merits gained the attention of senior Republicans in Congress and industry.

Perhaps doing a web search on your own, along the lines of: "Derek Khanna," and/or "copyright reform," and/or "three myths about copyright law," will aid your gaining a fuller understanding of the dynamics within today's Republican Party and where it may lead.

Little known fact, if true as Washington Examiner reported: Mickey Mouse is still sheltered property under existing copyright law, while having been created by Walt Disney roughly a century ago. The American Conservative, here.

National Review, "... and I agree with my friends" thoughts:

Some of the specific problems noted in the paper and elsewhere are very real: Copyright terms are too long; rights are overly convoluted and hard to pin down; transaction costs are too high; the easy availability of copying is attriting the creative community; orphan works, for which the copyright holders are unknown, present problems. The list is long.

We probably need a clean-sheet rewrite of copyright law, but the solutions to many current problems are far from obvious, and the risks of any such enterprise are so great as to daunt everyone with a stake in the system. So we keep muddling along, with the confusion abetted by those who profit from the current mismatch between law and technology.

Confusion is also caused by the content industry. Much of it really is as greedy and rapacious as its critics contend. The only property rights it cares about are its own; it has no sympathy for anyone caught up in the toils of the EPA or the local zoning board (unless the issue involves Malibu beach property, of course).

Conservatives are so angry with Hollywood over its unrelenting cultural degradation that they are eager to embrace any position that causes it pain. Furthermore, last year saw a complicated battle in Congress over the protection of content on the Internet. It was not clear exactly how far the provisions backed by the content industry and the Chamber of Commerce would reach, and there was real concern that the law, if enacted, would be subject to abuse and misuse. Nothing in the history of the industry or of the government’s use of broad vague laws, such as anti-racketeering statutes, alleviated this fear.

Despite all these concerns, the temptation for Republicans to reflexively embrace the foes of copyright should be resisted, because the church of property rights is greater than its servants.

If this noble sentiment is not sufficient motivation, then bear in mind that undermining copyright will increase rather than decrease the power of these large, avaricious corporations. If it is too difficult for an individual creator to defend his interests, then he must become a satellite of a large organization that can provide muscle to protect his work or that can integrate his content with distribution and advertising. In a world without copyright protection, creators are necessarily serfs.

[italics added]. National Review, a humble lesser servant.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Khanna's staffing assignments show Khanna services for Republican politicians ranging from Scott Brown, to Minnesota's Erik Palusen. I expect at this point, Paulsen being who he is, unabashedly "agrees with his friends."

Europe does not sleep nor duck the issue; here, here and here. Re things touching copyright and the Myth-memo; Ars Technica, here and here.

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