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Patent reform will take a bit longer to come about

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has taken its fair share of criticism of late, with some calling it a "broken" system.  Verdicts like the $1.92M USD verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for sharing 24 songs (eventually reduced to $220,000 USD) or Apple, Inc. (AAPLthreatening to sue the New York City for using an Apple in a city greening campaign logo (Apple has sued other companies for using images of the fruit, claiming it owns trademark rights to all corporate artistic depictions of the fruit) have many convinced that the copyright system is in need of reform.

In a new request for public comment, that's part of a broader 122-page report, dubbed "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy" [PDF], the Internet Policy Task Force -- a U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) working group -- writes:

In recent years, the debates over copyright have become increasingly contentious. Too often copyright and technology policies are seen as pitted against each other, as if a meaningful copyright system is antithetical to the innovative power of the Internet, or an open Internet will result in the end of copyright. We do not believe such a dichotomy is necessary or appropriate.

It alludes to recent audits which revealed rampant abuse of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act [PDF] (DMCA), including some businesses using fraudulent DMCA copyright infringement claims to temporarily takedown rival websites.  

Copyright Pirates
Copyright wars have raged for over a century in the U.S. as law clashed with new technologies.

The working group writes:

Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The Task Force says it will "convene roundtable" sessions of public, corporate leaders, and copyright watchdog groups (e.g. the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)).  It also says it will "solicit public comment".  The paper offered no details on when or where the public can take advantage of these opportunities, but it advises interested citizens to "stay tuned for announcements."

At this point some of you may be thinking -- "Great, that covers copyright, but what about patents?"

Recall, with government bureaucracy and public indignation there's a certain latency/suffering period between whenever things go to the metaphorical Hades in a hand basket and when the government finally feels compelled to take action.  The copyright wars largely raged in the early 2000s.  By 2010 the RIAA had mostly scuttled its campaign of threat letters against citizens and while flashy infringement battles continued to emerge, much of the worse abuses were already said and done.

Likewise the smartphone patent battles, and the general rise in patent trolling in the software industry -- a present tense battle that emerged in full effect around 2010 -- may not be resolved with reform until 2020 or later, perhaps.

Source: USPTO [PDF]

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There's your problem
By TSS on 8/20/2013 6:00:26 PM , Rating: 3
that's part of a broader 122-page report

122 pages?! no wonder nothing gets done in congress. Imagine having to read all that.

In fact out of curiousity i spent a few minutes of my time reading into the 3 page(!) executive summary, in which they call for public round tables (3 seperate times!). And, in fact, i can summerize that summary into 1 single sentance:

"The taskforces has looked into the matter of copyright and promises to do so further, possibly with other people".

I shudder to think what's in the rest of the report, i'm not going to read that because my time can be spent better. But if i'd done an article about it having read only the summary, i'd focus on this part instead:

The Task Force repeats the Administration’s prior call for Congress to e nact legislation adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighte d works to the public as now exist s for criminal reproduction and distribution

Applying the same penalties for downloading to streaming is fricking insane, not even taking into account the penalties are already fricking insane, as streams are of a limited time and quality therefor having, provably, an even lesser impact on copyrighted works then downloadable media.

But no let's focus on the very remote (read: none) possibility of having a say in all this. If you're a leader of industry, stakeholder or "notice of inquiry" participant. Living in 2010.

RE: There's your problem
By bug77 on 8/21/2013 4:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
"The taskforces has looked into the matter of copyright and promises to do so further, possibly with other people".

Figures. I mean, hell didn't freeze over lat time I checked.

RE: There's your problem
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2013 11:48:46 AM , Rating: 2
"They have to pass it before they can read it."

RE: There's your problem
By superstition on 8/21/2013 4:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not a bug, but a feature. Also, it's a recent thing:

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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