Copyright Reform-Are We Seeing a move into the 21st Century?
The Republican Study Committee in the US recently put out a brief report that outlines a few myths about copyright and proposes some suggestions to fix the law. Unfortunately, it has since been removed and now we must wait in order to see what, if anything, will come as a result. Here is the link to the since removed report.
Despite the fact that it has been taken down the fact that it was authored is a breath of fresh air. Does this means that governments are finally starting to realize what academics have been saying for years? Does this mean that people in power are realizing that strong copyright laws only serve the interests of big corporations and content producers at the expense of the general population? Although the report is not perfect and I am sure will be criticized by big business and examined at length by academics there is one very important part that it gets right. The purpose of copyright is to encourage innovation and creation and current copyright law is not an effective way to accomplish this goal. Although this report is based on American copyright law, Canadian copyright law is based on the same basic principle.
Recently in Canada, changes to the Copyright Act came into effect. Among other things, these changes have expanded the definition of Fair Dealing and have created new possibilities for user generated content. If anything is to come of this report, it could be the next step in governments finally revising copyright regimes to suit the 21st Century. Although it does not seem like much, we might be seeing the beginning of a return to the ideals of the Founding Fathers and an effective copyright regime that encourages creation and innovation. Society will be better for it.