We were already skeptical
of the GOP's claims about supporting "internet freedom," and it seems that our concerns have been more or less confirmed by the fact that the MPAA seems positively thrilled by the GOP's official position on internet freedom
. If the MPAA is pleased with someone's policy outline for the internet, you can bet that it's bad policy. Here's what Chris Dodd had to say:
The Republican Party platform language strikes a very smart balance: it emphasizes the importance of us doing more as a nation to protect our intellectual property from online theft while underscoring the critical importance of protecting internet freedom. As the party points out, the internet has been for its entire existence a source of innovation, and it is intellectual property that helps drive that innovation. Copyright is the cornerstone of innovation; it allows creators to benefit from what they create. As Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- herself once a Republican elected official -- wrote, '[I]t should not be forgotten that the Framers intended copyright itself to be the engine of free expression. By establishing a marketable right to the use of one's expression, copyright supplies the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas.'
I agree wholeheartedly with my friends in the Republican Party that we must protect the free flow of information on the internet while also protecting American innovators. It is imperative to our national economy and our national identity that we protect an internet that works for everyone.
As he is prone to doing, Dodd is presenting a very distorted version of history and intellectual property. There is no evidence (none, zip, zilch, zero) that "intellectual property helps drive innovation." Historically, it's been shown that competition
is what drives innovation -- whereas intellectual property laws tend to lock in place legacy players, holding back disruptive innovation. Either way, the MPAA's support pretty much shows that the Republican's "internet freedom" platform isn't serious.