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

Foxx talks dancing with Christie, McCain
Who could possibly forget this epic photo? Late night host Jimmy Kimmel certainly hadn’t, so when he had the chance to interview actor Jamie Foxx Wednesday night, he simply had to get the back story. Foxx has been the host of this annual charity event for several years. “What’s interesting is that every year that […]
Jon Stewart on Christie's 'pig problem'

Jon Stewart got into Chris Christie’s “pig problem”—which wasn’t quite what Stewart thought it was at first.

Rogen: 'Amazing' to smoke in White House

Seth Rogen told The Hill in a recent interview that he believes he is now on a "list" of individuals banned on from President Obama's residence because of his recent tweet expressing his desire to smoke marijuana in the White House.

Kimmel's insightful e-card rant

Kimmel's broadside against e-cards raises an interesting point about the way Democrats have encouraged their followers to pass along birthday well-wishes to their party's elected officials and leaders.

Stewart hits Pelosi for hypocrisy
Jon Stewart hit Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) hard Tuesday night for her hypocrisy in a recent voting decision. “You are a recognized champion of women and voter rights,” Stewart started off, playing clips of her oft-repeated speeches on the topics. “Your voting and lady bonafides are unmatched.” So lucky for Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D- Ill.), […]

White House

Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on "felons, not families."

After multiple hacks, the federal government’s cybersecurity plan remains on hold

The federal government is not having the best time with cybersecurity of late.

Obama to announce executive action on immigration Thursday

President Obama announced Wednesday afternoon that he will unveil his unilateral plan for immigration reform to the nation in a primetime address Thursday.

Reports: Obama could unveil amnesty for illegal immigrants within days

President Obama is set to unveil a comprehensive, unilateral plan for immigration reform that includes amnesty as soon as next week, according to a report Thursday.

Obama on ‘Face the Nation': Congress still has time to act on immigration
After warnings from Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner, President Obama claimed on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” that Congress still has time to act on immigration before his executive order comes down. “I’d prefer and still prefer to see it done through Congress, but every day that I wait we’re misallocating resources. We’re deporting […]

Congress

Rep. Bachmann finds the smoke-filled rooms of DC
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann may be on her way out of Washington, but that didn’t stop her from finally finding her way to the often criticized smoke-filled rooms of DC. On Wednesday, the Congresswoman seemed to be enjoying her a last bit of recess down time with a cigar and a perfectly appropriate tweet. After […]
Rand suggests a wardrobe change for 'King' Obama
Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.) took to Facebook to suggest an Obama wardrobe change following the president’s comments that he will use the executive branch to push his immigration agenda. Post by Rand Paul. “This isn’t about immigration reform. This is about his usurping of power that the Constitution didn’t give him,” Paul said in an interview […]
Senator: 'There could be violence'

Retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has issued a stark warning about the fallout from President Obama's immigration plan.

Pro- and anti-NSA Republicans vote down reform

Senate Republicans banded together to kill a National Security Agency reform bill, but some did it for entirely opposite reasons.

The House hires an Obama voter to sue Obama

In an act that belongs in the trolling hall of fame, the House of Representatives has retained a lawyer who voted for President Obama and supports "national health care" to sue President Obama over Obamacare.