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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is the Yanked Republican Copyright Policy Brief Newsworthy?


The major news outlets and networks don't seem to think so.

If you do a google search (web and/or news) on for the Republican copyright policy brief, the closest thing to the mainstream media (i.e. something other than blogs, specialized news outlets (e.g. techdirt), and public interest groups) one finds is HuffingtonPost.  Nothing in the Washington Post, nothing in the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal.  Nothing MSNBC or CNN.  And nothing on Fox News.

The thing came out on November 16, and none of these news outlets featured so much as an op-ed, as far as I can tell.

Is that because they ALL have vested interests in the continued expansion of the copyright system?

Why can't just won of those columnists who are so busy obsessing about how everyone else is obsessing about Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley take a moment and contemplate the importance of this event?

Why are they staking out Paula and Jill's houses, when they could be interviewing Jim Jordan, Paul Teller, or Derek S. Khanna?

Why is this more important than Paula's wardrobe, or Natalie's Gloria Allred press conference?

Because it's unprecedented, that's why.  It's the sort of thing that gives a disillusioned public that perhaps there is some hope for our two party political process after all.  Until the moment of that release, no major political party, and no major political candidate had ever so starkly stood up to the Copyright Industries.  Yes, there have been a few congressmen here and there who have spoken up.  But where are they now?  (Rick Boucher is gone, I know that). Even hope-and-change Barack Obama had a copyright agenda that could have been written by those industries, and he certainly hasn't done anything to curb them.

For me, Copyright legislation is the ultimate f-you to the people from both the political parties, and it serves as proof positive that both parties don't give a darn about the public interest, when campaign funds are at stake.  And the fact that they are so unconcerned with the public interest on copyright issues tells me that that's the way they feel about every other issue that comes their way as well.  On other issues, however, there are often lobbyists on both sides, and each side can make a case that its position was for the public interest.

The most obvious and easiest-to-explain example was the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.  Simply because a few very valuable copyrights were going to expire -- including copyrights on all the early Disney movies -- Congress passed a law that extended ALL existing copyrights by 20 years.  Millions of works that would have fallen into the public domain and thus been available for free to the public -- for entertainment, research, or just information -- remain locked up due to the willingness of the 1998 Congress to put the corporate self-interest of Disney (and a few rich heirs who happened to own other important copyrights) over the interest of all Americans.

For 24 hours, the Republican Party took the position that this sort of thing is simply wrong, and that copyright is no longer serving its intended purpose, and in fact is becoming a tool of oppression.  There's a big story behind what led up to the memo, and there's a big story behind what caused it to be pulled back.

But the mainstream media apparently has other things on its mind.

I reproduced the Policy Brief in my last post, but I'm going to reproduce it again here.  It deserves to be reproduced over and over again.


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