Rep. Nadler Claims 'You Bought It, You Own It' Is An 'Extreme Digital View'
from the oh-really? dept
We’ve written about Rep. Jerry Nadler a few times. He recently became the “ranking member” (i.e., highest ranking Democrat) on the House subcommittee on intellectual property, which clearly made copyright maximalists happy. Nadler has a history of heavily supporting copyright maximalist positions, including pushing for what was effectively an RIAA bailout a couple years ago, and has previously supported ridiculous dangerous concepts like a new copyright for fashion designs (and idea that is both unnecessary and likely to harm the fashion industry).
He’s already off to a dangerous start, introducing a bill to create artist resale rights (something he’s done before. This is an issue we’ve written about many times, creating a ridiculous idea that people who buy artwork no longer own it outright. Any time they resell the artwork at auction, they might have to pay some of the proceeds back to the original artist. As with the fashion copyright idea, what this does is harm innovative new artists by favoring wealthy established artists. As we’ve discussed, this punishes investors who are willing to support new artists, taking away their incentive to invest in those artists, while at the same time decreasing the incentive for other artists to continue producing art (since now they get paid multiple times for the same work).
Given all that, it’s quite clear what Rep. Nadler thinks about basic concepts like property rights: he’s not a fan at all. In fact, in a rather astounding statement to the Association of American Publishers, Nadler claimed that the idea that “you bought it, you own it” is somehow extremist:
“The ‘you bought it, you own it’ principle is an extreme digital view and I don’t think it will get much traction,” he said, referring to the mantra of proponents of the right to resell digital goods.
Oh really? The specific discussion concerned people wanting to be able to resell used ebooks, just like they can resell regular books. But, really, the idea that “you bought it, you own it” is somehow extremist? Isn’t that a fundamental concept in property rights? In fact, we’ve highlighted how copyright maximalists are trying to destroy property rights by denying people the basic ownership rights over things they bought.
It seems extremely troubling when such a key member of the House subcommittee on intellectual property has such a negative view of our basic property rights.