Friday, June 15, 2007

One....Two....No, a Hundred Special Interest Groups!

(Yes, my title is a hyperbole)

I've just read about yet another "Special Interest Group" set up by the RIAA and MPAA (and also backed by the Pharmaceutical Industry, amongst others) that want a new position in the executive branch of law, called an "Intellectual Property Czar"!

Do we really want all 3 branches of government mucking about with intellectual property? The Judicial system already is tasked with enforcing copyright laws, and the Legislative branch of government controls copyright law. Do we, as a people, really need the White House enforcing copyrights belonging to corporations. Isn't there more important things for the White House to be worried that little war going on in Iraq and all.

I disagree with the broad expansion happening with copyright over the last 10 years at the hands of Congress (luckily, Canada has resisted following suit thus far, but with Canada passing into law the anti-camcording legislation, this may not last for long). I disagree that something that should be handled in civil courts more and more often lately is being handled in criminal courts. However, this takes it to a new extreme. This would be the President acting, through a secretary in his cabinet, on behalf of a few massive corporations instead of the people he or she represents.

Techdirt points out the downright inaccurate statements already being made by members of the group, such as:

"Our law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned. If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year."

Techdirt notes that even the content industry's own studies don't even claim the number is this high.

Let's hope this doesn't happen. I can't see good things coming of it.


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