U.S. Gov't Ask For Your Input on Reforming Copyright for the Digital Age
August 20, 2013 3:55 PM
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. (
threatening 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
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 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.
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.
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