Taken from American Conservative.
A Republican Study Committee policy brief released today to members of the House Conservative Caucus and various think tanks lays out “three myths about copyright law” and some ways to go about correcting what many see as a broken system. Derek Khanna, the RSC staffer who authored the paper, acknowledges an important role for intellectual property while also pointing out how badly the current system has gone off track.
Tragically, this study was very quickly rescinded, within 24 hours in fact of it being known to the public. The stated reason was because it hadn't gone through the necessary review period, which smacked of cowardice more than prudence.
The paper is a quick read, and makes very reasonable suggestions which could easily be reframed to the rhetoric of "fairness." That is, make Big Hollywood™ et al. pay their fair share for maintaining copyright control on creative works. The paper suggests a progressive "tax" scale for maintaining copyright to an upper limit of 46 years of creative control on intellectual property. The paper also points out how the current copyright statues hamper creative development. Before I knew the paper had been promptly rescinded, I thought I was feeling a breath of fresh air within the discourse of copyright laws; that is obviously not the case.
I have two sets of questions, one strategic, the other tactical. Why are conservatives so helpful to those who despise us so much? Why not go for the throat by revising our insane copyright laws, which are essentially written by the industries they protect (industries that are utterly hostile to conservatives)? The paper's ideas stand on their own merits. Our copyright laws are laughable at best, and harmful to the creative process at worst. The paper's suggestions also have the added benefit of potentially undermining institutions that are hostile to our ideas. I hope to see a case made for this paper's ideas by GOP in the future, but I won't hold my breath. Thoughts? I would be especially interested to hear from any expert in the field of copyright law and intellectual property law.
The other question is one of tactics. Would the suggestions of this paper be a wise move in terms of public discourse? The GOP seems to need to change the conversation. Why not start in a realm that would do some real damage to the opposition, undermine Big Hollywood's iron-grip on creative work, and make a good case for free market principles in a realm where everyone has felt the pain of ridiculous copyright laws? The quick lid put on this paper seems to suggest that some elements of the GOP are not prepared to go for the throat. I hope that is not the case for all of us.