© is the copyright symbol in a copyright notice

Copyright hearings continue tomorrow in Congress

Copyright needs to move into the 21st Century. The laws protecting intellectual property are now so far behind technology that they’re almost irrelevant and becoming more so every day.

Laws and regulations are often reactive. They follow behind events, developments and the evolution of culture. It’s a constant game of catch-up. In the stew that is democracy that often works well enough. When it comes to media and technology, the system has broken down. Technology is so far ahead of the protections afforded by law that those protections often seem meaningless.

Congress is now taking the bold step of examining the nation’s copyright protections with an eye toward revamping the entire structure. (Only time will tell if Congress possesses the true commitment needed to enact changes.). Prior to tomorrow’s hearings before Congress’ IP Subcommittee on “Innovation in America: The Role of Technology,” the Department of Commerce today issued a “green paper” on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital EconomyCommerce termed it “the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995.”

The real challenge for a modern copyright structure is that it should continue to provide protection and incentives for the continued production of content while continuing to promote innovation on the Internet. It is a difficult balance to achieve as an imbalance on either end could hinder growth and progress.

In the Green Paper, the Department of Commerce’s  Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF)proposes the following actions:

  • Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  • Soliciting public comment and convening roundtables on:
    • The legal framework for the creation of remixes;
    • The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment;
    • The application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement;
    • The appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information.

The Copyright Alliance and its Executive Director Sandra Aistars fully supported the goals and the approach outlined in the “green paper”:

We welcome this comprehensive roadmap which even-handedly catalogs some of the important issues facing the Administration and Congress in ensuring that the US continues to promote transparency, consumer trust, and collaboration between stakeholders while allowing innovation in both the creative and technology sectors to flourish. 

 

Tomorrow’s hearing will include testimony by:

 

Dannae Ringelmann, Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Indiegogo, Inc.

Jim Fruchterman, President and CEO, Benetech, Inc.

Nathan Seidle, CEO, SparkFun Electronics, Inc.

Rakesh Agrawal, Founder and CEO, SnapStream Media

Van Lindberg, VP of Intellectual Property, Rackspace Hosting, Inc.

 

 

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