Lots of traffic recently over a report on copyright law issued by the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives. The report was released on Friday, and unfortunately, it took less than 24 hours for pressure from entertainment industry lobbyists to result in the report being pulled.
Once something's on the internet, though, getting rid of it is awful difficult... so the report is still out there, and man, it is a wonderful piece of work. As Mike Masnick at TechDirt comments about the retraction:
But we shouldn't let that distract from the simple fact that the report was brilliant -- perhaps the most insightful and thoughtful piece of scholarship on copyright to come out of a government body in decades. You can still read the whole thing as uploaded to Archive.org.
David Post wonders if the Republicans are going copyleft:
The Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives has issued an extremely interesting (though rather clumsily written and clumsily titled) Report on “Three Myths About Copyright Law, and Where to Start to Fix it...
I have no grounds for believing that this was an RSC ploy to increase readership of the Report. [Admit it - you're more likely to read a Policy Brief on Copyright Law (yawn) if it was deemed too hot to handle by those who released it ...]
Now, some observations.
Following the announcement, I saw more than a few comments along the lines of "This is a desperate attempt by the GOP to woo back young voters!"
Gentlemen? Put down the political kool-aid.
I mean, I'm sure that - in the wake of the recent Presidential election - the Republicans leadership are going to do the best they can to win back the younger demographic. Tell me, though - in what world do you imagine GOP leadership looking at the issue, identifying copyright reform as a critical first step, and then banging out a spot-on policy paper that they're completely unwilling to defend?
I mean, I know that they're teh Stupid Party; but even they're not that stupid.
Do you really think that's more likely than, say, a smaller group of reform-minded Republicans that have already taken the time and effort to produce a solid policy position paper? A paper that happens to tick off the more hidebound leadership of the GOP?
Yeah, I'll go with door #2, thank you.
Second observation. This one's for the GOP leadership.
You have got to be kidding me.
Aside form authors, artists, computer programmers and the entertainment industry, almost nobody in the US gives one flying flip about copyright law. Putting this policy paper out got you a ton of good press, a whole lot of "Whoa, this is cool!" even in largely left-leaning corners of the internet, and... you promptly killed it.
Let me reiterate.
Completely by accident, you did something completely right... and then you killed it.
You know what? I retract my previous statement. You are that stupid.