An interesting quote from Californian Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren caught my attention as she retorted to those who argue copyright laws must be further strengthened by saying: “I think if we were to do nothing on copyright law, we would be getting it just about right.”
As Lofgren, represents Silicon Valley, and spoke this week at a Breakfast Club in Washington, DC. meeting on the topic of Intellectual Property, Her the Representative shared her typically blunt assessments of digital copyright making the argument that “the focus on copyright has almost been an impediment for content owners to really embrace streaming and to really understand how to make money utilizing the Internet.” Her view is that “copyright” is partially responsible for a mindset that focuses too much on “control” just as the Internet is offering a “new” distribution model to the masses.
Lofgren goes on to say; “I can remember arguing with people from the RIAA in the 1990s,” when she attempts to points out “Is Napster your enemy or your friend? Are you going to worry about controlling content or getting paid for content?” As in her view which for a capitalistic economy is correct , “getting paid is what it’s about, and the content industry should have embraced the creative chaos of the ‘Net by finding innovative ways to get paid for things like file-sharing”.
Yet instead of heeding the sound advice, the industry is still lobbying hard for stronger rights in bills like the PRO IP Act as well as pushed colleges to implement anti-file-swapping programs or risk losing federal money. However despite their efforts to ratchet up the copyright laws, which it says can always be made stronger we stand to witness this year’s introduction of the PROTECT IP Act and S. 978, which would make unauthorized streaming a felony! Talk about a pot of gold for the lawyers and major backlog for our already busy court system.
Here Lofgren hit back at both, calling them examples of the unhelpful “control” mindset as regarding S. 978, Lofgren say she sees “no need to turn most of the cases it would cover from civil disputes into criminal matters”. As she goes on to point out that the bill “could be used by dueling giants in the tech world who are really having commercial disputes,“, if that isn’t enough she further points out; “ or in the worst case might end up targeting lip syncers and sites that stream video game footage”.
In reference to PROTECT IP Act, its impact on DNS site-blocking per Lofgren will be “a mess” and “a disaster” that will “do actual damage to the Internet itself.”
While we can all agree as Lofgren does that the support of copyright enforcement is important; it must be done effectively and in a way that doesn’t damage the Internet or general civil liberties. Yet the support for PROTECT IP’s bill continues to grow. While the House is expected to introduce its own version of the legislation soon, though the Senate version continues to sit under a legislative hold by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Here it’s time to take back the internet for what it was meant for, the sharing of information and not the hand ringing of content owners over the potential theft of their IP as its time for new economic models to be developed as this is a capitalistic economy so therefore the best mouse trap wins and the inferior ones cry copyright /patent infringement.
As a good example of this is iTunes with 0.99 cent songs, and now their music match service is taking the wind out of the reason to pirate so why can’t the rest of the world learn from this…