U.S. Republican Study Committee Releases Progressive Copyright Document Only To Withdraw Hours Later

Tuesday November 20, 2012
The story of the weekend was the publication by the U.S. Republican Study Committee of a progressive report on copyright, only to withdraw the paper hours later (coverage from Techdirt (1, 2), Volokh Conspiracy, the American Conservative, Politico, CNET, and Macleans). The paper - which can still be found online - identifies several copyright myths and contains several notable proposed reforms including expanding fair use, reforming U.S. statutory damages rules, creating copyright misuse penalties, and limiting copyright terms. 

Interestingly, Canada has already begun to move in this direction with Bill C-11, which reformed statutory damages and created a non-commercial user generated content provision. Moreover, Canadian law features a shorter copyright term than that found in the U.S.  Given the rush to take the paper down, the fear is that even modest reform recommendations face opposition from copyright lobby groups, who exert enormous influence with U.S. politicians. As Canada jumps into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations in the next few weeks, Canadian copyright reforms will undoubtedly face tough scrutiny as the U.S. pressures us to undo many positive reforms and make further changes that the Canadian government previously concluded did not strike a reasonable balance.