Monday, November 19, 2012

Three Myths re Copyright Law & Where to Start to Fix It

Intellectual property lawyer Paul Rapp got hold of a Congressional committee paper designed to "analyze current US Copyright Law by examining three myths on copyright law and possible reforms to copyright law that will lead to more economic development for the private sector and to a copyright law that is more firmly based upon constitutional principles." Unfortunately, the powers that be have put a kibosh on it. Those of us concerned about intellectual property rights and innovation, which should be everyone, should read it, and ask your members of Congress to push for these commonsense changes.

Myth 1: "The purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator of the content." That's NOT what it says in the Constitution. "Most legislative discussions on this topic, particularly during the extension of the copyright term, 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."

Myth 2: "Copyright is free market capitalism at work.
"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.
"It is guaranteed because it is automatic upon publishing.
"It is a system implemented and regulated by the government, and backed up by laws that allow for massive damages for violations. These massive damages are not conventional tort law damages, but damages that are vastly disproportionate from the actual damage to the copyright producer."

Myth 3: "The current copyright legal regime leads to the greatest innovation and productivity...
"With no copyright protection, it was perceived that there would be insufficient incentive for content producers to create new content – without the ability to compensate them for their work. And with too much copyright protection, as in copyright protection that carried on longer than necessary for the incentive, it will greatly stifle innovation. In addition, excessive copyright protection leads to what economists call 'rent-seeking' which is effectively non-productive behavior that sucks economic productivity and potential from the overall economy.
This Goldilocks-like predicament – not too little and not too much – was what our Founding Fathers had in mind with the phrase 'securing for limited Times.'"

Read the whole thing HERE because it is an important issue, in terms of the economy, innovation, and free expression.

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