Derek Khanna takes on Hollywood, copyright laws … and the GOP

Derek Khanna is no stranger to the limelight. Earlier this year the 24-year-old was featured in Red Alert‘s inaugural “30 Under 30″ List and was named one of the D.C. GOP’s “35 Under 35.” He was even selected this year as one of The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People. But now his name is being thrown around for another reason — copyright reform.

As a professional policy staffer for the House Republican Study Committee, Khanna recently authored a memo, titled “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It,” outlining the current problems with copyright laws and proposing changes to alleviate the issues. Khanna listed a number of areas in which strict copyright laws hinder creativity, freedom and advancement, including obstructing a “robust DJ/Remix industry.”

Khanna’s memo was met with applause from individuals all across the political spectrum. The Huffington Post called it “candid, thoughtful and measured.” It was lauded as an olive branch to youth, a demographic the GOP has struggled to engage. Rep. Darrell Issa of California tweeted that it is “time to start the #copyright reform conversation.” Some Democrats even claimed they would switch parties if Republicans stuck with their proposal, according to Techdirt.com.

They didn’t.

Less than 24 hours after it was posted, the memo was removed from the RSC website. Paul Teller, RSC executive director, released a statement saying the memo had been “published without adequate review within the RSC.” Journalists and bloggers surmised that pressure from Hollywood had prompted the committee to remove the document. It is unclear what the RSC’s next move will be, and they stand to lose a lot in the debate, as Techdirt.com also notes.

Khanna, on the other hand, is poised to prosper from the memo’s sensational ideas on copyright. Even though the RSC threw Khanna under the proverbial bus, as the Huff Post article notes, the stage is set for him to become a major contender in the GOP movement, despite the untimely demise of his memo.

The New York Times is calling Khanna a “rising star” and saying the GOP would be “powerfully influenced” by people like Khanna. Businessweek went so far as to suggest — tongue-in-cheek — that Khanna could run for president in 2016.

At a time when the GOP needs new strategies and fresh voices in order to avoid another defeat in 2016, they should seriously consider Khanna’s free-market oriented copyright ideas. His radical reform suggestions have garnered support from both sides of the aisle — and with bipartisanship hard to come by these days, that should not be taken lightly. As a young person himself, Khanna is perfectly suited to champion policy changes that young people actually care about, and he’s clearly not afraid to take on the big dogs in Hollywood —  or even in his own party.

 

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