House Judiciary Committee Sets Up First Hearing On Copyright Reform

from the and-away-we-go dept

With comprehensive copyright reform back on the table in the US, and with Rep. Bob Goodlatte looking to lead the process, he's hosting the first House Judiciary Committee hearings on the matter, with the initial focus focused on finding consensus. They're starting with five witnesses, all of whom participated in the Copyright Principles Project, which we wrote about a few years ago when it came out. At the time, we wondered if anyone would pay attention to it, so it's actually great to see that it's front and center in this discussion.

That document -- which was put together by a wide variety of folks from different backgrounds -- looked at 25 possible areas for reform. All five witnesses participated in the process:
  • Jon Baumgarten, retired Proskauer Rose attorney and former General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office (noted litigator on copyright matters including music and movie issues)
  • Laura Gasaway, Professor, University of North Carolina Law School and co-chair of the Section 108 Study Group (libraries)
  • Daniel Gervais, Director, Vanderbilt Law School Intellectual Property Program (international issues)
  • Pam Samuelson, Professor, University of California at Berkeley Law School (convenor of the CPP and copyright law scholar)
  • Jule Sigall, Assistant General Counsel for Copyright, Microsoft and former Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs of the U.S. Copyright Office (tech)
Having Samuelson on the list is the key one, as she was the driving force behind the project and is one of, if not the most, knowledgeable folks concerning copyright issues around. I recognize that any copyright reform process could go seriously off the rails once certain lobbyists go crazy over it, but I'm going to take an optimistic approach here and hope for the best. Starting from this position with the folks who were involved in this process is a good place to start, though we'll see where it goes from here.

Filed Under: bob goodlatte, copyright, copyright principles project, copyright reform, daniel gervais, house judiciary committee, jon baumgarten, jule sigall, laura gasaway, pam samuelson


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  1. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2013 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Nothing to disagree with here! -- Because nothing here.

    "Mike has NO position on copyright reform that he'll state"

    As you say, he is a economist, not a lawyer. He states broad positions, with no details because it isn't his field. A lawyer or congressman would create better specific language then Mike would. That said, what is a position of copyright if not these:

    Treating fair use as a right rather than an 'exception'? Or at least give teeth to those utilizing fair use so as to prevent copyright censorship?
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130428/06391522863/fair-use-protects-some-uses-it-is -still-way-too-weak-to-be-effective-many.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=fair+use (you have to dig some, but the stories are there

    Providing clear rights for the disabled to format shift content and/or use assistive technologies so they can access information and culture?
    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=blind

    How about lowering copyright terms so as to expand the public domain?
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121231/17101321530/so-what-didnt-enter-public-domain-thi s-week-that-should-have.shtml (He expressly states his displeasure with the length of copyright)
    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=public+domain (many articles, some by Mike, expressing support of the public domain and its importance)

    Providing for orphan works in the digital age?
    (I know there was a good article about this recently, but I can't find it quickly)

    Mike has no enhanced copyright stance. He believes copyright has gone beyond its intent and value to society, and is now hurting culture (though he rags more on patents then Copyright). So reform is now about curtailing the abuses of copyright so culture is enhanced, not expanding copyright itself.

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