The excellent analysis of copyright laws by RSC was withdrawn next day
Overview: Republican Study committee (RSC) staffer Derek Khanna, released a report on “US Copyright Laws, its problems and solutions” on 16th November, 2012. Within 24 hours of publication, the group’s Executive Director, Paul Teller, issued a statement saying that the group is recalling the memo because the memo was published without adequate research and the publication does not meet the standard of the group. RSC is an influential group of representing conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. The group is recognized as a think tank of the Republican Party that develops the policy matters and provides the intellectual support to the Republicans.
Content of the Paper: Both the National and the International forums of copyright law makers and legal practitioners were shocked by the decision. The memo titled as “Three Myths about Copyright Law and where to start to fix it” analyses logically the drawback of present copyright process and how badly the current system has gone off the track. At the same time, the report has suggested some solutions to rectify the system. Though the report was written in the context of the US, but it is applicable to the other nations also. The paper has shown the loopholes in the argument of pro-copyright lobbies.
First Myth : Present copyright act is promoting the progress of science and technology is common misconception. According to the opinion of the RSC, most legislative discussions on copyrights are not in the interest of the human welfare, but rather protect the creator of invention and arts. This attitude is not in the line of copyright objectives.
Second Myth : The current copyright policy is against the theory of letting things take their own course, without interfering. Under the present copyright system, the creator of the content are entitled to get the exclusively monopoly of his /her content. The monopoly may be termed as government subsidized monopoly. There is no proper policy to fix the compensation amount for copyright violation. It can be as high as $150,000 per infringement.
Third Myth: It mentions the positive side of the present copyright act. The current copyright regime has produced a huge numbers of significant inventions of the century. The copyright act has encouraged the people to express their innovative ideas. Their innovations contributed a lot to the development of the civilization. At the same time, excessive restrictions in the copyright protection laws are creating obstacle in the path of economical development.
Solutions: According to the paper, the potentials solutions of the paper are:-
- Statutory damages reform — in other words, saving granny the legal headaches.
- Expand fair use — set those DJs free!
- Punish false copyright claims
- Heavily limit copyright terms, and create disincentives for renewal
These measures will actually incentivize innovation, rather than stifling it, as it most often does today.
Conclusion: The memo received the attention of worldwide legal professionals and politicians. It is unfortunate that the paper was taken back within the 24 hours of its publication. Some sources said that the paper was withdrawn under the pressure of content industries. However, the good sign is that the debate is still going on after the withdrawal of the paper.