The International Whisper Campaign Against Fair Use
from the fairness-is-a-problem dept
The entertainment industry has a special talent for lobbying. Over the last decade of watching the industry maneuver, it’s hard not to respect the sheer efficiency in its lobbying efforts. It happens over and over again. First, a story pops up somewhere suggesting some bizarre idea (copyright extension, ISPs should kick file sharers off their networks, the federal gov’t should start prosecuting file sharing, etc.) and within months, suddenly there’s legislation being offered in countries around the globe on that very topic. Clearly, the industry’s lobbyists know how to create an effective world-wide campaign on a certain topic and get it done quickly without garnering much outside interest until it’s too late. It would appear that their latest target may be attacking the concept of fair use in copyright. The industry has always had trouble with fair use, sometimes saying that it harmed innovation, while at other times even going so far as to say fair use doesn’t exist (don’t you miss Jack Valenti?).
William Patry notes that the latest is a worldwide “whisper” campaign to convince countries that “fair use” would violate international treaties, and thus, new copyright laws should not include fair use. That’s why some of the recent copyright law proposals we’ve been hearing about have more or less ignored fair use. While some politicians know enough not to fall for this, many who are not familiar with the ins-and-outs of copyright are falling for the bogus claims that implementing fair use would somehow violate international treaties (a common tactic used to frighten politicians who know little about copyright). In the link above, William Patry, trashes the claims that fair use goes against treaties. While this may seem like a minor squabble, being prepared to respond to lobbyist fabrications is important. Otherwise, problems with copyright law will only get worse and worse.