IP Czar Focused On Protecting Jobs, Not Promoting Progress?
from the that's-the-wrong-thing dept
We were already somewhat concerned about the nomination of Victoria Espinel for the IP Czar job in the administration (forced on the administration by the silly and pointless “ProIP” Act from last year). On Thursday, she had her confirmation hearings where she said pretty much what we expected about how important intellectual property is, and how she viewed her job as coordinating different government agencies to crack down on infringers. Much of her (brief) testimony (pdf) talked up the usual industry claims about the importance of intellectual property on the economy, not recognizing how misleading they are. These are stats that simply credit anything covered by intellectual property laws, as if the only reason those industries exist is because of those laws. That’s a mistake.
But more troubling? Espinel made it clear that her job is not to do as the Constitution requires, and make sure that intellectual property laws are properly “promoting the progress of arts and the useful sciences” (she never mentions this part), but, instead she claims her focus is cracking down on infringement to protect jobs:
If I am confirmed as the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, I will work side by side with agencies, Congress, stakeholders and the public to ensure that jobs that depend on intellectual property are not compromised by others’ unwillingness to respect and enforce the rule of law….
But intellectual property law is not about “protecting jobs” it’s about encouraging innovation. Innovation can be disruptive. Jobs can get shifted around. Protecting jobs is not encouraging innovation. It’s the opposite.
Better and smarter protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights will create more jobs…
There’s simply no evidence to support that. Shouldn’t our IP Czar rely on actual evidence rather than broad industry claims that are unproven?
Then, on being questioned she appeared to support Hollywood’s position that any net neutrality laws won’t apply to mandating content filters on ISPs. It’s looking like — just as was initially feared — this position is really to get Hollywood’s own representative in the White House. What a shame. If you must have an “IP Czar” shouldn’t it be someone who’s actually focused on making sure progress is being promoted, rather than someone who wants to blindly crack down on infringement with no thought towards whether or not it makes sense?