Not To Be Overlooked In SOPA: Massive Expansion Of Copyright Maximalist Diplomatic Corp
from the regulatory-capture dept
Regulatory capture is defined pretty simply as:
In economics, regulatory capture occurs when a state regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.
As is noted, this is a form of economic failure, because it creates (sometimes massive) negative externalities, in terms of inefficiencies and costs to the public. While we’ve covered the many, many horrific parts of the E-PARASITE Act (since renamed SOPA), there are always more problems lurking. One section that has received almost no attention at all is the final section of the bill, Section 205.
The simplest way to describe this section is that it’s the creation of the entertainment industry’s own copyright police force within the diplomatic core. It’s pure regulatory capture. The entire section is about massively extending US bureaucracy, in the form of a diplomatic force of copyright maximalists, whose sole job it will be to travel the world and push for more and more draconian copyright enforcement in the interest of the US entertainment industry. It’s pretty scary just how blatant this kind of regulatory capture is. Nowhere in the bill does it talk about more effective copyright policy. Instead, it requires “aggressive support for enforcement action” throughout the world, in the interest of a few US companies. We already have IP attaches and the USTR going around the globe pushing the interests of Hollywood, against the interests of the public. Do we really want more of that?
This is a problem, especially considering just how much evidence there is that over-aggressive copyright enforcement and ever expansive copyright law has actually been quite harmful for culture. If the role were to support more effective copyright law, that would be sensible. But it’s not. Instead, it’s just creating a new bureaucratic role to send copyright maximalists around the globe, employed by the US government, but whose sole purpose would be to do the bidding of a few US companies.