Republican Study Committee Dumps Derek Khanna, Author Of Copyright Reform Brief, After Members Complain

from the not-how-to-attract-the-next-generation dept

We'd heard this last week, but it's now been confirmed that, due to significant lobbying pressure by the entertainment industry and (even more so) the US Chamber of Commerce, Derek Khanna, the Republican Study Committee staffer who penned the first thoughtful policy brief on copyright reform to come out of US government offices in a long time, has been let go from his job. There was expected to be some staff turnover in January, as the new RSC leadership took place, but several Republican members of Congress explicitly asked incoming RSC boss Steve Scalise not to retain Khanna in response to the copyright brief.

If this is how the "new" GOP expects to interest young people, it seems to be going about it exactly backwards. Khanna wrote a thought-provoking paper that expressed views that many people believe to be true -- in a voice that is rarely heard in Congress. And, for that, he got fired. While the RSC and various copyright maximalists have been insisting that the paper was not properly vetted, we've had it confirmed that this is simply not true. The paper went through the standard procedure of any RSC brief, and was properly reviewed and vetted. It's just that once lobbyists hit the phones to various members of Congress (friends of Hollywood, mainly), pressure was put on the RSC to retract the document, and to jettison Khanna.

This is not going to interest very many young people, when a thoughtful critique of policy that finally raises issues that concern many leads to the staffer in question getting the axe. Khanna, for his part, has been valiantly continuing the conversation via his Twitter feed, but various lobbyists are now ensuring that elected officials can safely stick their fingers back in their ears.

Filed Under: derek khanna, gop, hollywood, rsc, steve scalise


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  1. icon
    jameshogg (profile), 6 Dec 2012 @ 9:23am

    "Free speech stops at the office door."

    This is from an article by Nick Cohen which I thought would be of interest:

    "In case you think I am BBC-baiting, I should add that at least the BBC allows challenges to its hierarchy. After the Savile scandal broke, George Entwistle had to go on the Today programme, whose presenters are never happier than when they can tear their managers apart on live radio. When Entwistle implied that the editor of Newsnight had no need to worry about his bosses circling over him like glassy-eyed crows, Evan Davis did what any sensible person would have done and burst out laughing.

    Consider how rarely such laughter is heard. One of the least explored aspects of free speech in Western societies is the power of employers to enforce silence. Citizens can go on television on Newsnight, if you wish and denounce their politicians. The secret police do not come for them. Yet if they criticise their employers they can expect their managers to demote or fire them. After the great crash of 2007-08, we ought to understand the importance of plain talking in the workplace. Insiders at NatWest knew that Fred Goodwin was leading his bank to ruin. HBOS fired its own risk manager for saying that its habit of giving mortgages to anyone with a pulse was insanely risky. But it is still taken as a given that employees who speak out against public or private bureaucracies have no one to blame but themselves if their career suffers. Confusion persists between the interests of managers who want to protect their status by silencing criticism and the interests of organisations, and the shareholders or taxpayers who fund them, which need the freedom to scrutinise rent-seeking or incompetent managers."

    (http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/4705/full)

    Just imagine how many people inside the MPAA want to voice their concerns about the industry's aggressive copyright attacks, but cannot... in case they lose their jobs. And not just those jobs in particular, but possibly any future job in that field of work due to black-balling. These people HAVE to exist, because it CANNOT be the case that 100% of MPAA workers are insane - some must surely see the virtues in tapping into the internet revolution, but are compelled into silence.

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