Skip to main content

Commerce Takes Some Flak Over Copyright Green Paper

The Commerce Department's new "green
paper" on balancing copyright protection and online innovation does not
get that balance right, according to the Computer & Communications Industry
Association (CCIA), whose members include Google, eBay, Dish, Microsoft and
Sprint. Fair use fan Public Knowledge also suggested there was more emphasis on
enforcement than on protecting fair use limitations and exceptions.

Those were among the
industry responses Wednesday to the paper's publication by the
Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force.

CCIA VP law and
policy Matt Schruers in a statement praised the reports overview of the state
of copyright in the digital age as balanced and valuable, but said that its
recommendations are wanting.

"Despite giving a
balanced overview, and recognizing the importance of both rights and exceptions
in copyright," said Schruers, "the report's recommendations focus on
intervening in existing private sector efforts, while overlooking problems that
only the government can solve. It suggests little to help industry combat
piracy through marketplace alternatives, and instead dwells largely on
enforcement, where industry best practices exist and voluntary initiatives are
already underway.

He said the
government needs to be less defensive and "crafting solutions to help new
services navigate licensing gridlock, technology discrimination, and poor
registry information.... An ‘all stick, no carrot' approach to converting
infringements into sales will not succeed," he said.

Public Knowledge VP
of legal affairs Sherwin Siy commended the Administration for recognizing the
need for copyright reform and raising some important issues. But it also said
that the report "fails to recognize fully the negative effects of certain
copyright enforcement policies on the public" and "focuses in more
detail, more frequently, on updating exclusive rights and enforcement measures
than on preserving essential limitations and exceptions..."

Siy suggested the
paper leaned toward rights holders. He said it does not "adequately"
discuss network level content-filtering and "will commonly refer to the
need to address concerns of creators, rights holders, and services, without
addressing the interests of the public-the audiences and consumers who are the
ultimate beneficiaries of copyright law."