Republican Study Committee Offers Real Copyright Reform…But Then Retracts It

From Ars Technica:

The memo, titled “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it,” is a direct assault on the relentlessly pro-copyright worldview dominating Washington for decades. “Most legislative discussions on this topic 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,” the memo says. That’s a problem, it argues, because the Constitution says the point of copyright is to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”—not merely to line the pockets of incumbent copyright holders.

We discussed this issue of copyright reform in my New Technologies class in the context of Lawrence Lessig’s book, Free Culture. One of the central arguments in that book was that there is a dire need for copyright reform in the face of new, digital technologies. Our copyright laws have been less a way to promote a free culture, but instead to stifle innovation in favor of profits.

It’s disheartening to see sensible reform was retracted almost as quickly as it was drafted, circulated, exciting a supportive audience.

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