Unfortunately, given the recent attitude and irresponsible positions that Rep. Issa has taken with the "Fast & Furious" debacle, I can see this issue as being politicized as well. In other words, Issa has been showing a streak of political animosity towards the Administration, and I can imagine that his positions are now viewed with great apprehension by the various federal departments. While we may want to view his request as being on the side of angels, as clearly the transparency issue should be viewed, the fact that it's him doing it may be what's making the USTR very uncomfortable if not downright confrontational. Note that Issa's gesture here may have nothing to do with his nobility, but rather with his desire to detract Administration's objectives (however flawed).
This may be a case of context, where Rep. Issa's interactions with the various federal departments is now being viewed in a larger context than the issues of any single department. Something to consider.
What our gov't has failed to appreciate is that as it has continued to violate our trust in how it applies various laws and how its representatives have behaved, we can no longer provide it a free pass on interpretations. To date, we cannot get the Dept. of Justice to provide its interpretation of the Patriot Act, which has been law for quite some time now. We also have seen threats of applying the Espionage Act in overly broad manners.
Yes, it's clear there are issues that need to be addressed in order to properly deal and coordinate on "cyber" threats, but providing our gov't carte blanche cannot be an option, they have proven themselves unworthy of the trust endowed upon them.
"The best we can do is to encourage people to think through the consequences of taking this road before we set off down it, accompanied by our swarm of personal drones."
I'm not sure I understand this statement. To what end? So they think about it and our privacy is still invaded. Not just that of the drone owners' but also that of anyone who may not be a drone owner who is now being picked out by all the drones in the sky. Add facial recognition tech and now things get goofy. Gov't can get access to everyone's feed and piece together the movements of anyone whether they own a drone or not (oh yeah, try to stop them ;). Heck, this beats the London and NYC's efforts to stick surveillance cameras everywhere and relies on individuals' fears (oh yeah, it's for the children ;) much like the Patriot Act did, in order get this to happen w/o gov't mandate.
What's even more ironic is that the control we hope to gain from having such surveillance is a fiction. What actually happens is that we lose greater control over deciding how this new information about our person is used. Don't forget, once digitized information is very very hard to control with or without laws guarding its use. We learned this lesson with how info about us is currently collected, stored, aggregated and disseminated online through all of these social services. The entertainment industry also learned this lesson with music, books and movies. It will happen with this drone data too.
Hence, thinking about how we deal with our info online hasn't done any good other than increase its reach and distribution.
Three words, OVER-THE-TOP. If you consider that a good part of carriers' revenues come from voice and SMS traffic, and both of these are being disrupted by IP level services (ie. Skype, BBM, et. al.), then the carriers are looking at a bleak future where some very important revenue is slowly disappearing. If they don't capture this, then one day they could see all their users on the lowest level voice plan and taking advantage of the unlimited data plan to do everything they used to pay for before. From a carrier's perspective, I have to believe this is a tough situation to be facing, and it's not easy to see how they might address more gracefully. Of course, lying about their reasons isn't helpful, and telling the truth certainly won't gain them any sympathy, but thems the facts ;)
Wouldn't that lead to just a different set of eventually predictable behaviors (how people react to knowing certain info)? Separately, the idea of people reviewing the data presumes that they all know how to read it the same way and come to the same or similar conclusions. That intuitively feels unlikely, much the same way as stock market models lead different investors to different conclusions. The predictability concept also fails to inspire since it's always about what data is being analyzed and while there may be times that it correlates well, short of having perfect data sets for everything, it's unlikely that predicability will hold over the long term. Again, I hold hedge funds and other stock investors as demonstrations of this sort of systemic failure.
"We need to recognize that the internet, free speech and copyright are all connected."
I would actually go further than that Mike. As a result of the digitization of information the drastic reduction in cost and friction around creating, distributing, aggregating and combining content (whether this be copyrighted material, personally identifiable information, software code, etc...), has thrown most of our economic, regulatory, social, and legal constructs into disarray. The oft used "paradigm shift" has never been more evident than in these past 7 yrs. We keep trying to describe what's happening online to physical world metaphors, but these are no longer working hence it's getting more and more difficult to understand what's happening.
Whether it be copyright and patent issues, privacy issues, secrecy issues, funding issues, all of these are no longer what they once were and indeed we need to rethink the structures of the various systems for how we move ahead. I find it tough to discuss copyright issues in a bubble that doesn't include a discussion on the free-flow of private info (or for that matter, what the heck does "private info" mean?).
Just some additional thoughts to include in your mix.
While this is an excellent development, what struck me about the White House statement is that it's playing by the rules set by SOPA/PIPA proponents. They continue to treat the piracy issue as far more serious than it actually is. As you've previously done on this blog, and Julian Sanchez at CATO does in the following post, http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/how-copyright-industries-con-congress/, there's some serious debunking that has to be brought to light. The reset should not just be for some of the silliness that was being attempted in those bills, but also in the very premise that we should be spending this much energy and resources on something that does not raise to the level of importance of much more serious issues in our country today. The Entertainment Industry is the NOT the end all and be all of the U.S. economy. Their biz models have to change and they need to come to terms with reality. Just as the horse & buggy industry had to come to terms with the automobile and ice producers had to come to terms with the refrigerator makers, so must the entertainment industry come to terms with shifts in their world. Arresting, fining and vilifying citizens is NOT the answer.
I've always thought that the most basic version of fairness that you point out was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz should have been part of DMCA. SOPA is wrong on too many levels for this to be an acceptable compromise. Having said that, if SOPA supporters are insistent on passing the current version of SOPA, then we should indeed fight very hard to get this amendment included some how.
While I believe Rep. Lofgren to be one of the few fighting the good fight in the Congress, especially by bringing attention to these issues, it would be so much more effective if she didn't just ask questions on the basis of an article but actually contacted the affected parties so that she's strong on the facts, not on someone's interpretation of those facts. Her question lost its punch when she kept saying "I'm only reading from this article". Something real is happening here and she really should addressing its substance more thoroughly...IMHO.
Someone does need to sit w/Larry Downes however and do some media training. Tepp's intellectual dishonesty is steeped in definitive unwavering responses. Downes doesn't do enough to cool "bullshit" or simply state a clear position that the uninitiated could easily grasp on to. For Tepp's arrogance and clearly devious approach to outlining the problem, he does so clearly and with enough stats (even if those can be debunked later) that one can easily see the reasonableness of his position. In this sort of short interview format, it's more important to have a stronger position to combat the insanity that Tepp lays out. It can be rooted in truth rather than lies, as Tepp has taken to, but for example, one could paraphrase the breakout you've laid out (and in your other post, http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111122/04254316872/definitive-post-why-sopa-protect-ip-are-bad-ba d-ideas.shtml), here and come up with very direct speaking points that could offer an equally compelling but diamtrically opposed story that shows that gov't's and the entertainment industry's current approaches are the works of ignorant and some times disturbed and corrupt people.
Where this sort of tech is nice when applied to targeted advertising or what music you're likely to like, it's always disconcerting when it's applied to more serious endeavors. While most of these systems are never more than 70% accurate (if that), let's give them the benefit of the doubt and call it 90% accurate. That means that 10% of the time someone is being treated like a criminal that genuinely isn't. Note the number of false positives that arose from the "No Fly List". Too many to justify the system that's for sure. To those adversely affected, it's a nightmare that has a traumatic affect on their lives. Given that I've yet to see any of these systems live up to their hype, and the signals they use are often insufficient to meet their stated goals, I really wish people would put more energy into making sure the ads I get are really relevant ;)
It baffles the mind how they think themselves so above humanity as to believe that everyone should believe what they say despite the numerous breaches of trust we've seen from this and other gov't departments over just the past 10 yrs, and even worse over the past few since the Wikileaks document release. Crazy.
Assuming the monkeys did own the copyright, or simply that it wasn't owned by the photographer or news agency, who would sue for copyright violation? Assuming the monkeys owned the copyright, then how would they have consent to sue? Otherwise said, until these monkeys can talk and assert any right they may or may not have, the photographer doesn't have much to worry about ;)
Seems like any defendants that previously settled with Rightshaven might have a case (if there's enough of them, perhaps even a class action) to bring up against Rightshaven for fraud or something of the sort. After all, if Rightshaven tried to sue them (or extort them ;) without having the rights necessary to do so, then doesn't that constitute a violation of some fraud statute? Just wondering outloud.
Guess it's taking ICE & co. some time to figure out how to come after Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! since by your broad definition here they are also inducing copyright infringement with search results to sites that may have content or may be pointing to sites that have content that may be violating copyright (since these assertions have not actually been proven).
It's clear you have a long future waiting for you at DHS or ICE since they clearly agree w/your less than persuasive interpretation of these laws.