09 December 2012

Well, That Didn't Take Long………

2 weeks ago, a staffer at the Republican Study Committee published a study calling for common sense reductions in copyright regulation.

It was retracted in less than a day.

Now the author of this paper has been fired:
The Republican Study Committee, a [right wing even by the standards of Congressional Republicans(!)] caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives, has told staffer Derek Khanna that he will be out of a job when Congress re-convenes in January. The incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was approached by several Republican members of Congress who were upset about a memo Khanna wrote advocating reform of copyright law. They asked that Khanna not be retained, and Scalise agreed to their request.

The release and subsequent retraction of Khanna's memo has made waves in tech policy circles. The document argues that the copyright regime has become too favorable to the interests of copyright holders and does not adequately serve the public interest. It advocates several key reforms, including reducing copyright terms and limiting the draconian "statutory damages" that can reach as high as $150,000 per infringing work.
The interesting thing is that it is likely that the real effect of the briefly released memo may be that it moved the Overton Window, because the proposals appear to have gone from unthinkable to merely radical, which is a very significant move.


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