Copyright Czar Agrees That The Gov't Should Let Business Models Decide Winners, Rather Than Legislation

from the time-to-walk-the-walk dept

While I certainly have my disagreements on a variety of points with US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, I will say that she's always been open to talking about the issues (unlike many others). She's also worked hard to really listen to people on all sides of the debate around intellectual property, and from what I can tell, take most of their opinions quite seriously, rather than just brushing them off. While I disagree with where she's ended up on an awful lot of issues, I respect her willingness to listen, and still have high hopes that she's coming around to realizing that strict enforcement often isn't the best answer. In the past, she's specifically reached out to us to discuss different business models and different ways that people can make money without relying on intellectual property, and it appears that she's been thinking even more about that lately. In a talk at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels, she made it clear that a lot of the issues can be taken care of through business model innovation, rather than legislation:
"The U.S. government doesn't need to pick winners and losers and the last thing we should think about doing is messing up the Internet with inappropriate regulation," she told the World Copyright Summit in Brussels.
She also talked up the value of new services, including various "cloud" services from Amazon, Google and Apple (which is interesting, since the record labels still seem to be hinting that Amazon and Google's services may not be legal, in their minds).

So, kudos to Espinel for making such a statement.

That said, it would be nice if we could see a bit more walking the walk, beyond just talking the talk. Espinel has certainly had a role to play in the PROTECT IP Act, which many people are warning could "mess up the internet," through its messing with DNS. On top of that, Espinel was also the driving force behind the new bill we recently spoke about that could make embedding and linking to infringing material a felony by extending the coverage of criminal copyright law to include "public performances." This sort of law does lead to the government picking winners and losers, and is totally unnecessary.

The focus really should be on encouraging the embrace of new business models, rather than ramping up enforcement. The recent SSRC study highlighted clearly the fallacy of ramping up enforcement as a means of dealing with infringement, as it simply doesn't work and has massive unintended consequences. Hopefully, Espinel will begin moving away from pushing new legislation like these recent efforts, and really will focus on helping content creators and others in the industry to move towards smart new business models instead.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Tor (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    "strict enforcement often isn't always the best answer"
    I don't think you intended this sentence to read like that.

     

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    fairuse (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Spaniel

    Say this real fast three or more times:
    US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel

    yep.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Rather than seeing the pendulum swing back

    I would rather have seen the camel's back broken.

    That is, I would like to have seen the pro-IP forces push things so ridiculously far that things snap back to normal with no chance of ever going back to how they presently are and are headed.

     

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      chris (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:51am

      Re: Rather than seeing the pendulum swing back

      I would like to have seen the pro-IP forces push things so ridiculously far that things snap back to normal with no chance of ever going back to how they presently are and are headed.

      that may work in other places, but in america we dearly love our perpetual "lash out -> backlash -> counter backlash" cycles.

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

        Re: Re: Rather than seeing the pendulum swing back

        "that may work in other places, but in america we dearly love our perpetual "lash out -> backlash -> counter backlash" cycles."

        Actually, we just need to have a single short 10 year backlash against copyright maximalism. After that the content creators that can't adapt will be bankrupt, and the new content creators, that embrace new business models, will be in control. The one thing both sides need to remember is, that the cost of content to the consumer is going to zero.

         

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Victoria may not agree but as long as the lobbyist bri... er... information keeps coming in, the brakes will stay on but good.

     

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    Bruce Lidl, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Sadly I thought her most recent interview in the NYTimes was pretty weak, not just for the enforcement stuff, but for her plying the company line on the recent seizures by ICE. I can't have any confidence in someone that not only defended the shoddy seizures but seems to be doubling down on them.

    Not a positive sign for the her tenure as the Czar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    The problem is...

    ...that she says one thing, but does another. Look at her actions, not her words.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Yes Victoria, stop trying to enforce the law.

    It sets such a better example when you encourage people to set up businesses based on illegal activity.

     

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      Boost, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      Just because you think it's illegal doesn't mean it is. If you have to pass a law to make sure that your business model survives, your business model is flawed....dumbass troll.

       

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      Greevar (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      Illegal is illegal. Wrong is wrong. If you compare the two in a Venn diagram, you'd see that the two intersect, but do not overlap entirely. You often use false dichotomies in your arguments though, don't you?

      A law that supports your ideals doesn't make it right and the those that oppose that law are not necessarily wrong. You don't get to have laws that regulate in your favor at the detriment of everyone else. The 1st, 4th, and 13th amendments disagree greatly with the type of legislation you desire.

       

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        taoareyou, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Illegal <> wrong. One is an intellectual rule the other is a moral judgment. Many things that have been and are against the law are not "wrong". There are also "wrong" things that are legal (depending on your moral standards of course).

         

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      Blatant Coward (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      If the buggywhip industry had the agents of ICE that Disney purchased, you would still need a horse to drive to work.

      If the Icemakers had the same clout as RIAA is purchasing now, your electric refrigerator would still need to be charged with 50 pound blocks of ice delivered daily.

       

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      "It sets such a better example when you encourage people to set up businesses based on illegal activity"... and draconian laws that prop up outdated business models with government granted monopolies that serve no other purpose than to make sure the deep pockets stay deep, as long as the money flows through Washington DC in the form of campaign contributions, lobbying funds, and outright bribes including well paying jobs after the politicians "public servant" sentence ends.

      See what I did there? Now it reeks of truth and will surely burn the retinas of trolls and industry shills alike!

       

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      dwg, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:49pm

      Re:

      It's late, and I don't have time to think of anything smarter to say than STFU.

       

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