Why The DMCA Was An Avoidable Failure (Or: How Politicians Work)
from the and-so-it-goes dept
There’s an ongoing discussion of Fred von Lohmann’s new paper about the failure of the DMCA (which, for some unknown reason is only being offered in pdf format) — and Ed Felten picks up on an important point that we’ve tried to highlight here in the past. von Lohmann notes that the DMCA is clearly a failure based on what it was originally supposed to do, and Felten responds by noting that it was easy to see how the DMCA would fail in its stated goals from the very beginning — and yet it became law anyway. Felten believes that Congress simply ignored the reasons why it would fail — as it wasn’t that hard to see them. This is, as you know, par for the course for politicians. They pass laws that make them look good in soundbites rather than which will actually solve complex problems. Sometimes, they do so knowing that the legislation doesn’t actually solve the problem, but saying the need to do “something.” One clear indication of this is that politicians never seem to pass laws that involve real metrics to measure the success or failure based on the stated purpose of the law — and they absolutely never have a “Plan B.” In business, when you come up with a strategy to change something, you have milestones and metrics — as well as having additional plans in place, should the first one fail. Ed Felten asks for ideas on: “how our policymakers can avoid making this kind of mistake again.” Unfortunately there isn’t a clear answer right now. In a world were politics is done by soundbite, context and details mean nothing.