July 13, 2004

Matto Ichiban: In the Dark

by Guest Contributor

Gotta start checking my mail at work . . .

Anyway, the one area of law where Congress has completely missed the boat is copyright: everything passes unanimously, everything totally benefits special interests, and nobody cares. The lack of care to copyright has sometimes been borderline unconstitutional, like extending the terms for works already created by twenty years, and much of it is downright incoherent, like the monolithic right in digital sound recording performance rights.

Ironically, as technology makes it easier and easier for the common person to create, transfer, and enjoy works of intellectual property (and information in general), the law is making it harder and harder. In this area of the law Congress has virtually abdicated its role to private parties. Behind the shield of "protecting markets" and the fruits of authors' labors lies protectionist legislation that lines the pockets of the few at the expense of the public (literally: depriving the public of a thriving public domain is tantamount to a legislative taking pawned off on people over the last century).

The market for air would greatly increase if its supply was regulated by law, but that is no excuse to deny people the benefit of the free flow of it around them: to live, play, work, think, and do everything else that separates humans from animals. In this regard, more than any other, Congress is failing America, and if Orrin Hatch has anything to say about it, it will continue for years to come. Write your Congressman: tell them to get wise on intellectual property, visit Lessis Blog occasionally, and give people back the right to use works of intellectual property that technology is giving them.

July 13, 2004 9:48 PM | TrackBack
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