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So much for courage.

As I wrote yesterday the Republican Study Committee issued a sensible report on Copyright reform. Now it seems they have been forced to delete and disown their own report:

So, late Friday, we reported on how the Republican Study Committee (the conservative caucus of House Republicans) had put out a surprisingly awesome report about copyright reform. You can read that post to see the details. The report had been fully vetted and reviewed by the RSC before it was released. However, as soon as it was published, the MPAA and RIAA apparently went ballistic and hit the phones hard, demanding that the RSC take down the report. They succeeded. Even though the report had been fully vetted and approved by the RSC, executive director Paul S. Teller has now retracted it, sending out the following email to a wide list of folks this afternoon:

    From: Teller, Paul
    Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 04:11 PM
    Subject: RSC Copyright PB

    We at the RSC take pride in providing informative analysis of major policy issues and pending legislation that accounts for the range of perspectives held by RSC Members and within the conservative community. Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand. As the RSC’s Executive Director, I apologize and take full responsibility for this oversight. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and a meaningful Thanksgiving holiday....

    Paul S. Teller
    Executive Director
    U.S. House Republican Study Committee
    Paul.Teller@mail.house.gov
    http://republicanstudycommittee.com

The idea that this was published "without adequate review" is silly. Stuff doesn't just randomly appear on the RSC website. Anything being posted there has gone through the same full review process. What happened, instead, was that the entertainment industry's lobbyists went crazy, and some in the GOP folded.

Cowardly doesn't even begin to describe this act. For those wondering about the role of money in politics you just got a quick lesson, the entire document was a statement of their principles and was shoved aside when campaign contributors made some phone calls.

A party clearly unfit for leadership in a free country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The report was crap anyway. (0+ / 0-)

    The so called myth it claimed to debunk or correct are just straw man arguments by the anti copyright tech lobby.

    I think the republicans think they can drive a wedge between Hollywood and the Tech industry, both strong Dem and progressive supporters.  However in reality the anti piracy fight is really between the tech industry and everybody else.  SOPA was supported by both the Chamber of commerce and trade unions.  You don't get more diverse than that.

    Right man, right job and right time

    by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 11:27:42 AM PST

    •  You realize the bill went down right? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, kurt

      Hardly "tech industry vs. everybody else" there was an outpouring of opposition from many places (including kos).

      Please read the report the you will understand why they were not "straw man" arguments.

      Copyright has become an increasingly ridiculous proposition. It's not property, it's a state granted monopoly that thwarts innovation and apparently now needs draconian measures to enforce that monopoly privilege.

      •  Copyright is not a state granted monopoly (0+ / 0-)

        That is the most ridiculous argument That I have ever heard come out of the anti copyright propoganda machine.  Obviously you have no idea what a monopoly is.

        In your world Mercedes Benz has a monopoly in the car industry because they are the only ones allowed to build cars and stick their logo on it and call it a Mercedez Benz?  Really?

        SOPA failed because of a lot of push back and mis information about the bill from the tech industry.  The same way the ACA almost failed because of push back and mis information from the health industry.  The list of supporters of an anti piracy bill included The attorneys general from all 50 states both Dem and Rep.  State  Governors, State legislators The Business community, Trade unions including the AFL-CIO and Businesses from Nike to Microsoft and finally the President himself.

        Right man, right job and right time

        by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 12:05:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Different argument, as you know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          the Mercedes Benz trademark, which is a way to ensure consumers are not confused in the marketplace. And yes trademarks are also a state granted monopoly but not the same as copyright. Total conflation of the issues.

          Ideas are not property.

          "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper [(candle)] at mine, receives light without darkening me."
           - Thomas Jefferson

          No one is "stolen" from by playing a copy of a song or watching a copy of a film that someone else produced.

          •  From your argument then every brand and producer (0+ / 0-)

            of goods has a monopoly. Which is a ludicrous idea and argument.

            The exclusive right of the creator or copyright holder to create copies of his work is enshrined in the constitution.  The concept of intellectual property is not even debatable at this point.  Neither is anyone saying

            No one is "stolen" from by playing a copy of a song or watching a copy of a film that someone else produced.
            Both Copyright and Trademarks originate in the same clause of the constitution and though different, the same essence of protecting intellectual property is at the core of both.

            Right man, right job and right time

            by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:30:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, you are making it seem ludricrous because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              maybeeso in michigan

              you are trying to make all IP the same.

              Trademarks are not copyrights which are not patents.

              There are differences  and some of what falls into the category of "intellectual property" make sense. And as you well know the constitution has a very different notion of those rights than today

              "The Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." -- US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8
              Securing an exclusive right for a limited time is a state granted monopoly which as identified in the constitution was not some belief in an inherent property right but was instead done to "promote progress of science and useful arts."
              •  Intellectual property rights have been upheld by (0+ / 0-)

                the courts and has been recognized by most western governments have for many years now.  There is no sense in me arguing this with you.  Mr Lessig a prominent anti copyright lawyer has been rejected by the supreme court on about three times now.

                It's time to move past this and figure out how IP rights are going to be recognized and protected in the 21st century over the internet.  The lure of free content over the net is strong for many, but is unsustainable economically not to mention illegal.

                Right man, right job and right time

                by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:21:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Unsustainable for "property holders" (0+ / 0-)

                  you mean.

                  The false premise of IP, that ideas are property, has been ignored and often repudiated all around the world and the lobby continually pushing that ridiculous view will lose power as content begins being created throughout the world rather than relying on Hollywood.

                  America was built on violating England and other European power's IP and China is following suit vis a vis America.

                  IP is not constitutional as being framed today, but that's irrelevant really because the world and people in the United States simply disregard laws that claim otherwise.

                  •  It's unsustainable for every one. (0+ / 0-)

                    No content creators means no content. Everyone loses. The consumers and the producers.  Hollywood is not the sole creators of content.  They have never been.  Content has been created all over the world for thousands of years.  What an idiotic thing to say.

                    I don't have a false premise of IP. You do.  IP laws are constitutional weather you like them or not.  They have been upheld in The supreme court in the US.  They are being upheld and enforced in almost every major economy in the world.  Even in Russia and China they are realizing the importance of IP because they are now becoming producers of IP also.

                    You seems to buying the nonsense spewed by the tech industry mouthpiece Mike Masnic over at Tech dirt or maybe Torrentfreak.  What is so Ironic there are no fiercer defenders of their IP than the huge mega tech companies.

                    Right man, right job and right time

                    by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:42:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh.Come.On (0+ / 0-)

                      The argument that content is created because people get paid for copyrights is just silly.

                      No art was produced before modern copyright? Nobody would make art if they didn't have the opportunity to make money?

                      You know that's not true.

                      •  Xplain to me how a film like The Avengers gets (0+ / 0-)

                        made if no one involved gets paid.  Please explain this to me.  How old are you?

                        You seem to be under the impression that all music TV and films get made by amateurs who do it in their spare time.  There are tons of professional who make those products for living that have housing, healthcare and food needs just like anyone else that works for a living.  

                        So you are saying they should work for free so people like you can download it for free on the internet.?

                        None of the block buster movies that are the top downloaded contednt on bit torrent sites can get made without people getting paid to put in the thousands and thousands of man hours involved in making this movies.  Grow up.

                        Right man, right job and right time

                        by Ianb007 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:00:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Actually not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DSWright

              "The exclusive right of the creator or copyright holder to create copies of his work is enshrined in the constitution."

              Not true. What is enshrined in the Constitution is the power of Congress to create such laws, with limited durations, if they choose to create them. This also means they can choose to not create such laws, or repeal any such laws they've created. Thus, and no exclusive rights for a "creator or copyright holder" are enshrined in the Constitution. They are optional and created later by acts of Congress.

              And on "monopoly", see my posts below, including the quotes from the framers of the Constitution calling copyrights and patents "monopolies".

              •  OK. If you want to be exact. (0+ / 0-)

                The power of the US government to create and protect IP is enshrined in the constitution.

                Sure the govt can change the copyright laws or get rid of them or pass laws to enforce  them on the internet.  I am willing to bet my testicles no govt is ever going to repeal the copyright laws. None.

                Right man, right job and right time

                by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:34:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSWright, AoT

      The creative community, including actual, practicing IP lawyers, were surprised and impressed with that report -- the ones who saw it, at least.  Nobody would argue that it was perfect, but it was an excellent step in a discussion we ought to be having.

      The Chamber of Commerce and the trade unions that support this thing are both protecting their rents; in this context, your supposed "diversity" is illusory.

    •  copyright is a monopoly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSWright

      Of all the things to complain about here, this one is pretty ridiculous. Copyright is a government granted monopoly, and has always been understood as such by economists and even the founding fathers.

      To take your example, a copyright over a Prince song is a monopoly over an infinite range of potential products that in some way involve copying of that Prince song. These can range from the production and sale of exact copies, on any variety of different media or formats, to an infinite variety of inexact copies or derivative products, again on any variety of different media. The copyright holder here is given a monopoly by the government over the market for all of these potential products, and can exclusively choose which are produced or not produced, which are sold or not sold, and can decide how each will be priced, free of competition.

      The reason why you appear to be getting confused is because you change the issue to "market of music", which isn't what anyone is calling the monopoly. This is like saying that if the government gave a monopoly to a particular company to grow or sell Red Delicious apples, that isn't a monopoly because there are lots of other kinds of apples. Or if the monopoly was for all apples that this isn't a monopoly because there are lots of other kinds of fruit. Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a monopoly. Once the government says that there's only to be one producer or seller of something, you're talking monopoly.

      What the cited report actually gets wrong is in their first point:

      "1. The purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator of the content:
      It’s a common misperception that the Constitution enables our current legal regime of copyright protection – in fact, it does not. "

      The purpose of copyright, as established in the US Constitution, is not "to compensate the creator of the content". That gets it entirely backwards. The purpose of copyright is to benefit the general public by encouraging the publication of more works of art or intellect that are useful to the public. The means by which this purpose is achieved, or at least theoretically achieved, by copyright is granting the monopoly: providing the potential for additional revenue to the author of such works through exclusive control of publishing copies.

      The original purpose of copyright was to serve the public interest, not a special interest. So the report get the ends and the means reversed. But I guess I should not be surprised that this Republican policy paper gets this backwards.

      •  There has always been a distinction (0+ / 0-)

        between a commercial monopoly where one entity controls an entire market and those exclusive rights granted to writers and inventors,  The right of inventors and creators to enjoy exclusive rights to their creation has been part of the US law before even the constitution.

        You are wrong about Prince having control over his songs.  Anyone can record a Prince song under a compulsory license and there is nothing Prince or his publisher can do about it.  It has been like that for almost a century.

        No I am not the one conflating ideas. The so called myth busters in that GOP report are.  The implication is that somehow a copyright granted to a content creator is a bad coercive monopoly wherein the rightholder can manipulate the market and force the price up or prevent others from entering the market place. Which is baloney.

        The report claims that there is a myth that the constitutional purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator.  Bullocks there is no such myth.  The constitution is very clear and no one except anti copyright activists make such a silly claim.

        Right man, right job and right time

        by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:03:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There may be some distinction to be made... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ianb007

          but that distinction is not over whether the term "monopoly" applies. It does, and always has. See my posts on the founders and SCOTUS using the term for copyrights.

          "You are wrong about Prince having control over his songs.  Anyone can record a Prince song under a compulsory license and there is nothing Prince or his publisher can do about it.  It has been like that for almost a century."

          He can do nothing... except demand payment. The fact that there's a compulsory license for cover versions is irrelevant. The government just limited the monopoly in that particular area to being able to demand payment but not being able to refuse outright.

          "The implication is that somehow a copyright granted to a content creator is a bad coercive monopoly wherein the rightholder can manipulate the market and force the price up or prevent others from entering the market place."

          Again, you're moving the goal posts on what the market is. The market here is the class of goods involving copies of the work under copyright, not the "market of music". The copyright owner can manipulate this market and force the price up. That's kind of the point of copyright law. Without the law there would be other people selling copies and the competition would drive the price down.

          •  He can't even the demand payment (0+ / 0-)

            It is a set value that he has no control over. He gets payed if there are any copies sold. If there isn't he gets nada.

            Yes I have seen your posts regarding the SCOTUS and the use of the term monopoly,  and they have all upheld copyright law. Even the extra long extensions that exist.  I just believe there is a practical distinction that needs to be made.  Every producer of a unique item by that broad definition has a monopoly on what ever it it he sells be a song or a house.  That's just the nature of it.  It is entirely different from a commercial monopoly where a single entity uses coercion to control the price and or remove competition from the market place.

            There are no moving goalposts. The reason that monopolies have been deemed bad by most economies is that the monopolizer can manipulate entire markets.  Not just on unique item in a market.  No copyright holder can manipulate the entire market.  As a matter of fact seldom is the price of one song manipulated because of copyright.  That's just not how the music business works.  A Prince song costs the same as one of my songs on Itunes and all the other resellers out there, even though there is obviously a greater demand for a Prince song.

            The awarding of a copyright has no such negative impact to the market place.  As a matter of fact a market would not exist if there were no copyrights. That's why the laws are necessary and is in the best interest of the public.

            Patents are a little more complicated yet they are still necessary.

            Right man, right job and right time

            by Ianb007 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:31:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it's not the nature of it. (0+ / 0-)
              Yes I have seen your posts regarding the SCOTUS and the use of the term monopoly,  and they have all upheld copyright law. Even the extra long extensions that exist.  I just believe there is a practical distinction that needs to be made.  Every producer of a unique item by that broad definition has a monopoly on what ever it it he sells be a song or a house.  That's just the nature of it.
              Just not true. The definition of monopoly used by the framers, by economists and the courts does not apply to every producer or every unique item. Moreover, a "song" is not a unique item like a house or a shirt. It's a set of ideas. The unique items are the various fixed copies of the song. And the copyright holder's monopoly is over this class or phylum of goods. And this class of goods, of potentially infinite number, is defined on the basis of whether each unique item produced is similar enough to the song under copyright to qualify as a copy of it.
              •  According to you KFC has a monopoly on selling (0+ / 0-)

                Kentucky fried chicken.  This is according to your argument.  If not then why not.  Also according to the law songs and pieces of music are unique.

                Bottom line copyrights are legal and also beneficial.  So this whole argument is moot. The importance of protecting intellectual property rights is well established, with Obama establishing an Intellectual property enforcement advisory committee.

                Right man, right job and right time

                by Ianb007 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:43:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  copyright monopoly (0+ / 0-)
                  According to you KFC has a monopoly on selling Kentucky fried chicken.  This is according to your argument.
                  Let's be clear, the fact that copyright is a monopoly is not "my argument" but the established "argument" of the framers of the Constitution, the courts, economists, etc. In other words, it's a fact, not "my argument".

                  Now, on KFC you're talking about a trademark, and/or a trade secret. Trademark is another kind of government granted monopoly, but only over a word or logo, not a class or phylum of goods. What trademark forbids is someone other than KFC selling fried chicken using the name or logo of KFC. Anyone can sell chicken just like that of KFC, they can "copy" KFC chicken and sell it. They just can't use the name or logos. The only thing that might prevent someone from doing this is due to the recipe being a trade secret, which would simply mean others don't know how to make the same chicken. No law forbids it.

                  If you'd like to keep pushing this futile line that copyright isn't a monopoly by claiming that "everything" produced or sold is a monopoly by "my argument", then try using an example of that doesn't involve "IP" laws. You're just trying to keep this argument afloat by jumping around from copyrights to trademarks to trade secrets and hoping the ensuing confusion will obscure the fact that you've already been proven wrong.

                  Also according to the law songs and pieces of music are unique.
                  Copyright law doesn't really deal in defining what "song" means, it deals in fixed expressions: a specific written or recorded version. Those are indeed unique (you said "unique item" before, now you've made your language less precise). A "song" under copyright however has indeterminate boundaries and characteristics, which are only determined post-hoc by the courts. So your original recording of the "song" is under copyright. I do a cover version, it's called the same "song", but the two versions are themselves different and unique. My version has certain features that yours didn't, and vice versa. They are each unique, but they are considered the same "song". And this can be true for an infinite number of possible versions or derivatives. The court simply determines post-hoc if these various unique items are substantially similar to the original fixed version to constitute copies, since the monopoly interest adheres over all of these potential unique items that are determined to constitute copies.
                  Bottom line copyrights are legal and also beneficial.
                  Whether they are beneficial or not is the big argument, and beneficial to whom? That's the relevant question. Current copyright law is not beneficial to the public in my opinion. It is extremely harmful to the public, though it is beneficial to some "rights holders". Copyright probably used to be beneficial to the public a long time ago, and could be made so again with substantial reform.
                  •  Ok so we agree that KFC and Mercedes Benz (0+ / 0-)

                    thru trademark an IP laws have a monopoly.  Actually a trademark is a law under the commerce clause not the "copyright" clause.  My point is that a distinction has to be made between these govt granted "monopolies" and the coercive monopolies that anti trust laws have been written to combat.  Anti copyright types use this term 'monopoly' especially on tech blogs and torrent blogs, not because they are legal terms and they are appealing to judges and economists, but pejoratively because they are appealing to the general public that they know have no idea that  many monopolies are legal and have no detrimental impact on the market. I am not going to play that game.

                    When a song is copyrighted it has a definitive set of characteristics that define what that song is. I am not sure why you think I made my language less precise. Yes a court has the final say on what is going to be an infringing similar song.  Words and melody are not as you say indeterminate.  When you do a cover version of my song you are using the same melody and words.  Your version may take artistic license and embellish melodies etc but it is the same song.  It is customary practice for many writers and artists in the business to "copy" or be inspired by a song and come up with a similar compositions that is not an infringement of the original song.  Happens all the time.

                    I don't think there is any doubt that copyrights, patents etc are beneficial to both the public and the rights holder.  Other than a few oddball lawyers like Lawrence Lessig, most people including President Obama understand the need for comprehensive IP laws and enforcement.  The benefits range from economic.  The Movie and Music industry provides employment directly or indirectly to millions of americans.  Neither of these industries would exist without copyright laws.  Add in other IP industries and that number increase dramatically.  Please explain to me how you arrive at the conclusion that current copyright law is extremely harmful to the public.

                    Right man, right job and right time

                    by Ianb007 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 10:54:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  btw, Jefferson, Madison & SCOTUS on monopoly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSWright

      Here is some excerpts of an exchange of letters between Jefferson and Madison on the proposed copyright and patent clause of the constitution:

      Jefferson:
      "The saying there shall be no monopolies lessens the incitements to ingenuity, which is spurred on by the hope of a monopoly for a limited time, as of 14 years; but the benefit even of limited monopolies is too doubtful to be opposed to that of their general suppression."

      Madison's response:
      "With regard to monopolies they are justly classed among the greatest nuisances in government. But is it clear that as encouragements to literary works and ingenious discoveries, they [monopolies] are not too valuable to
      be wholly renounced? Would it not suffice to reserve in all cases a right to the public to abolish the privilege at a price to be specified in the grant of it?"

      Jefferson again arguing for the addition of more clear limitation on these (his term) monopolies in the Constitution:

       "I like the declaration of rights as far as it goes, but I should have been for going further. For instance, the following alterations and additions would have pleased me . . . Article 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding _ years, but for no longer term, and for no other purpose."  [Jefferson later proposed 19 years as the term]

      And then there's the SCOTUS, again routinely referring to copyright as a monopoly:

      Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.:

      "We recognize there are substantial differences between the patent and copyright laws. But in both areas the contributory infringement doctrine is grounded on the recognition that adequate protection of a monopoly may require the courts to look beyond actual duplication of a device or publication to the products or activities that make such duplication possible. The staple article of commerce doctrine must strike a balance between a copyright holder’s legitimate demand for effective – not merely symbolic – protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce."

      And SCOTUS again, in this instance talking about patents as monopolies rather than copyrights:

      The US Supreme Court, Sola Electric Co. v. Jefferson Electric Co.:

      "The question for our decision is whether a patent licensee, by virtue of his license agreement, is estopped to challenge a price-fixing clause in the agreement by showing that the patent is invalid, and that the price
      restriction is accordingly unlawful because not protected by the patent monopoly."

      "..that the stipulation for control of the sales price of the patented articles manufactured by the licensee was a lawful exercise of the patent monopoly."

      "Such a restriction on the price of articles entering interstate commerce is a violation of the Sherman Act save only as it is within the protection of a lawfully granted patent monopoly."

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