The GOP’s potential “in” with the Limewire generation

Last week, the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House Republicans, issued a report on potential copyright law reform that likely sent the entertainment industry into a scramble. Perhaps due to immediate pressure from the industry’s powerful lobby, RSC retracted the report within 24 hours. 

In essence, the retracted report argued that Congress has turned copyright law into an excessive, government enforced monopoly on content. Contrary to the Constitution’s endorsement of time-limited copyright protections of 14 years with the ability renew for an additional 14 years if the author was still alive “to promote the progress of science and the useful arts,” today, creators of copyrighted material can ask the government to strictly protect their work for more than a hundred years!

Among the report’s ideas:

• Reduce the current copyright protection period to 12-years, with the option to renew for another 12-years or longer in exchange for a share of the previous revenues from the work. Under that legal regime, much of your 80s and early 90s playlists would have entered the public domain by now and would be free to download.

• Expand “fair use” rules, which are the circumstances in which copyrighted material may be legally used. This would make it much easier for artists to produce, distribute and sell remixes or mash-ups of copyrighted work.

• Reform statutory damages for copyright infringement. Under current law, a college student willfully downloading a single copyrighted song on a file-sharing platform is liable for up to $150,000. Copyright infringement damages were intended to compensate copyright holders for their loss, but now they appear to be absurdly punitive. Damages in the ballpark of $50-100 per infraction seem more appropriate in the case of private citizens illegally downloading copyrighted content for non-commercial purposes.

Freedom from overzealous government copyright protection was the subject of intense Congressional lobbying earlier this year, when the web was abuzz over the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  Pitted against the entertainment lobby, Internet and social media giants such as Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia staged online protests against the bill with broad support from younger, Internet savvy Americans.

Although the Republican Study Committee retracted the copyright “memo,” some powerful Republicans, such as California Congressman Darrell Issa, seemed intrigued by the report’s proposals. Issa took to twitter to announce, “It’s time to start this copyright reform conversation.”

It’s likely a conversation that would earn Republicans some support from the Limewire generation.

Comments

Comments

  1. Jay Dee says:

    Actually, a quick rewrite of the tax code would settle the copyright issue fairly quickly. I propose an intellectual property tax. The copyright holder can renew the copyright indefinitely so long as they continue to pay a progressively increasing intellectual property tax. Combine this with tax benefits for transferring a copyright to public domain and the large majority of copyrighted works would evaporate. Patent issues could be solved by requiring the patent holder to pursue production, pay a progressively increasing tax or give the patent to public domain.

Polititainment

Bill Clinton, Usher fundraiser for Dem

In the latest instance of Democrat-celebrity coupling, former President Bill Clinton and singer Usher will join forces at a September 13 fundraiser for Democratic candidate for Senate in Georgia Michelle Nunn.

Eric Roberts: Bush killed James Foley

Actor Eric Roberts on Twitter Monday accused former President George W. Bush of killing American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by an ISIS terrorist in a video posted to YouTube in August.

Palin asks fans to pray for Joan Rivers
Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol are asking their fans to show support for comedian Joan Rivers, an unlikely pal of the Palins. Rivers,81, has been unconscious in the hospital since Thursday after she went into cardiac arrest during a procedure. Palin posted on her popular Facebook page Friday directing fans to a blog post by Bristol. […]
Grover Norquist loved Burning Man
It’s official: Grover Norquist absolutely loved this year’s Burning Man festival. Before the blaze with co-founder of Burning Man Larry Harvey.He has created a wonderful festival/movement/Brigadoon pic.twitter.com/3iq5UzcPYG — Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) August 31, 2014 Burning Man. 65,000 participants. 1000s of works of art. Anyone who walks through BM and only notices nudity tells you only […]
Celebs gin up youth votes for midterms
THE HILL – With young voters more apathetic about voting and government than ever, several organizations are trying to woo the “selfie generation” to the polls this fall. “About half of those who vote in presidential elections do not vote in midterms,” explained Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that partners with musicians […]

White House

Obama notifies Congress of airstrikes in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has sent official notification to Congress of his order for last week’s airstrikes and humanitarian aid drops to help Iraqis threatened by Islamic State militants. The White House on Monday released a letter formally letting Congress’ leaders know that Obama approved the mission that repelled Sunni fighters in the northern Shiite […]
Obama: The world seems really messy because of ‘social media’

President Barack Obama, speaking at yet another fundraiser with a script that's been recycled more than a Hollywood romantic comedy, had an unlikely culprit for the world's problems.

White House scrambles to control the fallout from Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ comment
It’s hard to imagine that there was any other reaction than full panic from White House staffers after President Obama uttered a fateful gaffe Thursday afternoon, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” The line quickly exploded on Twitter and on television — though not quite as much as the president’s tan suit — as it […]
GOP: ‘He’s not a king’
THE HILL – Whether lamenting the so-called vacationer-in-chief’s swing of a golf club or criticizing his handling of the healthcare rollout, Republicans are getting in the habit of comparing President Obama to a monarch. “It’s one thing after another. You know he says he has no choice but to act. He says he has a pen […]
Obama’s Democratic fundraising just might ruin Labor Day weekend for the rest of us

Barely having returned from a 15-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama will spend is Labor Day weekend traveling to support his Democratic friends. The problem is, this means that Americans planning to take seaplanes to East Hampton, Montauk, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket won't be able to travel themselves.

Congress

Dem candidate: Republicans 'worse than ISIL'

Jesse Smith, a Democrat running for Alabama's 3rd Congressional district, compared Republicans to ISIL (or ISIS) militants on Twitter Monday, asserting that the GOP is "worse" than the terrorists that have wreaked havoc in Syria and Iraq.

When Congress was popular
THE HILL — If you’re not a paid staffer or blood relative, as the joke goes, you probably hate Congress. The institution is so unpopular that voters were more positive about brussels sprouts, head lice and root canals in one recent survey. But there have been a handful of times over the last 100 years […]
Cruz highlights issues for 2014, 2016 elections
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) elicited huge cheers from the audience at the Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” Saturday when he vowed Republicans would take back control of the U.S. Senate and “retire” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I’m convinced we’re going to win in 2014 and 2016 is going to be even better,” […]
IRS says Lerner's Blackberry 'destroyed'

A senior IRS lawyer has said in a sworn declaration that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun to investigate her involvement in IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Youth impact reason enough to pass jobs bills
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is in the midst of releasing 40 reasons over the course of 40 days that the Senate should take up the 40 jobs bills the House has already passed. While most of their reasons have focused on general unemployment and economic growth statistics, they turned their attention […]