Sunday, November 18, 2012

Republican Party Issues and Takes Down a Copyright Study Document

This blog studiously avoid partisan politics, which is normally fairly easy to do since IP law normally has not been a particularly partisan issue. However, there are signs that political parties may be taking on this issue in a political way.

The role of the purpose built Pirate Party in Europe is well known. It now has several MEPs and it played a major role in the defeat of ACTA in the EU.

The US Republican party has just issued – but within 24 hours retracted – a policy study document entitled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it that reflects a clearly laissez-faire and even libertarian viewpoint, as one might expect from some policy thinkers in the conservative camp. For example:
Copyright violates nearly every tenet of laissez faire capitalism.  Under the current system of copyright, producers of content are entitled to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsidized content-monopoly.

However, it appears that lobbyists lost no time in convincing the GOP to retract this document and do a "take down". Because of this instant volte face, it is now virtually certain that this discussion document will receive far more attention than it ever would have if it had been left alone to serve its purpose – which was that of discussion – along with many other documents at Republican Study Committee website.


PS - just over three years ago I had a very civilized debate with Richard Owens at a Canadian Constitution Foundation conference Without getting political myself, I tried to look at copyright issues through the CCF lens, i.e. how a "libertarian" might think about these issues. Here's my blog about it, which contains a video of the presentations of both Richard and I.

It's clear that conservative and, especially libertarian and "freedom" oriented conservatives are finally starting to question copyright law as a contradiction, when taken too far, of their core values.

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