back to article Republican staffer fired for copyright reform suggestions

A Republican staffer who wrote a position paper suggesting that the current system of copyright legislation might benefit some market-based reform has been summarily fired. Last month the Republican Study Committee, an influential group made up of members of the US House of Representatives, put out a position paper saying that …


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  1. William Donelson

    Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

    Want to know why Republicans do what they do?

    Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich.


    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

      You presumably got downvoted by the stupid redneck tea-party idiots the republicans exploit - the very same people who would be far WORSE under a republican leadership

    2. Turtle

      Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

      The problem with your statement is that copyright is the only mechanism that gives content creators *any* defense against parasitic entities like Google.

      As for the Khanna report, you can read the following:

      ....that is to say, you can read those links, or you can remain ignorant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

        The point -->

        Your head -->

        The points raised by Khanna's report are not striving to abolish copyright as you appear to assume nor was he seeking to strip away content creators rights to seek monetary income derived from their creative works.

        It's also rather telling when the person fingered for raising issues with the popular points Khanna raised, is one who's financial backers are essentially Big Content.

      2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Got a link?


    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

      Want to know why Republicans politicians do what they do?

      Republicans Politicians are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich.



      There, fixed that for you.

      1. BillG Silver badge

        Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

        Excellent edits.

        And let's not forget this is a bi-partisan issue - after all, isn't it the Democrats that get huge campaign contributions from Hollywood and their studios? Mikey Mouse is a Democrat and doesn't like anyone touching his copyright.

        Need more proof? "The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998" (a.k.a "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act") passed the Senate by unanimous vote. Both parties. President Bill Clinton (D) gladly signed it into law.

        The Republicans extended copyright protection to 75 years. This angered Hollywood, who was lobbying their Democrat lackys to make copyrights last FOREVER!

        Please downvote me if it bothers you that the Republicans wasn't the party pushing for eternal copyrights.

    4. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich

      "Republicans are about Campaign Cash from Big Business and the Rich"

      That, and even worse... they are currently in full-on religious-sectarian mode where they don't have positions, they have dogmas. They don't have policy discussions, they have decrees (from Fox news and chat radio posing as the voice of infallible god). Any statement from a Republican that contradicts or even casts doubt on that dogma will result in being hounded out of the party, and immediate disappearence of campaign funds and (re)election chances.

      Some things that can get a Republican fired / un-elected : welcoming immigration, saying 'meh' to, or even (shock, horror) supporting gay marriage, suggesting that taxes are not exactly the same as getting a personal anal rogering from Satan, suggesting that hey, maybe Israel should stop building settlements, publicly and firmly acknowledging that Obama is not a communist and/or that anyone suggesting Obama was born outside the US is a complete nutter, and I'm sure many more.

      *Incidentally, one of the above will also see you ostracised even if you are a Democrat.

  2. jake Silver badge

    There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

    Ban lobbyists entirely. Totally cut them off. All of them. The shysters. Capital Hill is supposed to be there for "We, the People", not the likes of Big Business and Greenpeace.

    1. TaabuTheCat

      Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

      Nope. Once and done is the answer.

      If politicians didn't start raising re-election cash the very first day on the job, lobbyists wouldn't have nearly the influence they have now. Take away the re-election incentive and maybe these guys would behave in *our* interests and stop working for the guys with the biggest wallets.

      I know, I'm dreaming. The very guys that could enact term limits...

      1. tkioz

        Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

        Simply guarantee government funding for anyone who can raise X amounts of signatures, give those people guaranteed air time on media (limited), and then ban any contributions from any source over say 2,000$.

        There fixed. It might cost the tax payer cash in the short term, but it would be well worth it in the long term to prevent the lobbyists from having so much damn influence.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @TaabuTheCat (was: Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:)

        I disagree. Get rid of the lobbyists, and career politicians who are only in it for the money will go away. IMO, of course. Can I bribe you over to my side with a homebrew? ;-)

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: @TaabuTheCat (was: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:)

          There is a third way. The Mehmed 2nd the Conqueror's way.

          Stop salaries to _ALL_ bureaucrats and make them put a price list for their services on the door. Makes things nice and clear.

          That approach got the Ottoman empire across half of Europe to the doorsteps of Wien and the Empire started to decline only once one of his successors reinstated the salaries.

          Food for thought...

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Voland's right hand (was: Re: @TaabuTheCat (was: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:))

            Only trouble with that option is that back then they didn't have instant world-wide communications. Today, we do. And we can pretty much ship anything, world-wide, in under 24 hours.

            Don't believe me? Visit Morimoto, in Napa California, for fresh "grown in Japan" food ;-)

      3. Turtle

        @TaabuTheCat: Not a good answer.

        "Once and done is the answer."

        That's not a good answer. Why should an elected official who has no chance of being elected care at all about the interests of any of his electoral constituents? Maybe he will simply indulge his own, personal interests - such as who will offer him or his family members the most lucrative investment opportunities in exchange for his votes on this or that issue, or who promises the most lucrative consultant contract when his one term is over, or, well, you should be able to think of any number of other devices that can accomplish the same purpose.

    2. IT veteran

      Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

      Not gonna happen whilst SCOTUS says corporations are people, and thus get constitutional protections (e.g. Freedom of speech etc). That gave the US the odd position in the early 20th century where coporations were covered by the 14th ammendment, but blacks (for whom it was written) weren't.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @IT Veteran (was:Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:)

        Whole 'nother kettle of worms, IT Vet.

        Related, yes. But a somewhat different issue. IMO, of course.

      2. Graham Dawson

        Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

        Ah but the thing is. IT Vet, a corporation has to have some status as a "person" in order to be taxed on its income (what we call corporation tax). Anything else gets complicated extremely quickly. Considering how complicated current tax law is, do you really want to make things even more convoluted?

        And of course, if a corporation is a "person", then that "person", under US law, has to have the same constitutional rights as any other citizen, otherwise you re-establish the precedent that certain citizens can be deprived of their rights simply because they fall outside an arbitrary definition of "deserving".

        It's a very difficult and complicated situation, something of a conundrum in fact. Expecting politicians to fix it is madness. Expecting the courts to fix it is wishful thinking because they tend to be extremely conservative when it comes to taking away "rights" once granted. There is no simple and easy solution, and certainly depriving corporations of "personhood" will not fix things and will only, in fact, make them worse.

        You'll lose corporation tax, for starters. You'll lose the ability to enforce law and judgements against corporate entities because those entities will no longer have any legally recognised "body" against which to bring judgement - and at the same time you'll not gain the ability to enforce judgements against the owners or managers, as they can simply hide behind collective responsibility, because individuals can't be legally held liable for the actions of others. Corporations, however, won't lose the ability to fund lobbying or contribute political donations. They'll just organise a few employees to do it on their behalf.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Corporation vs personhood

          Erm... corporations can be owned, people cannot. People are whole and indivisible, corporation ownership is split up by shares. Persons can vote, and can be imprisoned, corporations can't. So there already are some significant distinctions that can be leveraged.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

      There's more than one answer.

      As Americans seem to be really keen on oaths of office and pledging allegiance and other frippery it would be interesting to take a really close look at what they say in these oaths and pledges. If they do pledge themselves to the betterment of their country then if they demonstrably place party before country there could be a good case to prosecute them for treason.

      Wouldn't that be fun?

    4. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

      "Ban lobbyists entirely"

      Most lobbying is good old-fashioned corruption dressed up in a nice tuxedo. Just because the person / group doing the lobbying is not the same as the person / group paying for your election campaign doesn't make it above-board.

      Various groups will, of course, always offer advice / put pressure on politicians, which is OK as long as the advice / pressure does not come with strings-attached campaign contributions. So the solution is to de-couple the advice from the money.

      1) limit personal and corporate campaign contributions, limit to how much of their own money a candidate can use, and have all campaigns externally audited.

      2) increase staffing and research budgets for parliamentarians (also tightly audited please) so they can do their own damn research instead of relying on the biased research of their patrons

    5. BillG Silver badge

      Re: There is only one answer to Washington's issues:

      Nice idea to ban lobbyists, but I don't see Congress doing that. Congresshumans are leaving Congress and joining lobbying groups. Turns out there's more power in being a lobbyist than a congresshuman.

  3. SteveCarr

    A very interesting paper indeed

    With the TPP and other "free trade" negotiations going on behind closed (and locked) doors, now is almost too late to do anything to correct the wrong that is embodied in excessive copyright terms and sanctions. The US Government, acting as the long arm of the law of their biggest benefactors, big business interests, wishes to extend the reach of this excessive copyright (and the related areas of patents and trademarks) world wide. The stifling effect this will inevitably have on the world economy is of little consequence to established big business. The real pain will be felt by the vast majority, though.

    Add in the impending handover of the internet to the control of national governments (read - big business again) and we're all in a shite load of trouble!

  4. tkioz

    Yeah... how dare someone suggest that the current system is broken and offer reasonable suggestions on how to fix it... Damn dirty commie infiltrator!

    This is the problem with the whole debate, you've got Big Content on one-side completely against any form of restructuring, you've got the FreeTards on the other side wanting to completely demolish the entire system, and anyone in the middle offering reasonable compromise is smashed like a grape under a hammer.

    The current system is broken, it needs fixing, throwing away people who recognize that but don't want to rip the whole thing down isn't a good move.

  5. moiety

    Hire him; sack the rest of them.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      IT Angle

      On the other hand

      A lesson is learned: if you want to be a conservative, don't propose changes.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Big-nosed Pengie

    Lie down with dogs...

    ...get up with fleas.

  8. westlake

    Think interests not bribery.

    The Republican party is all but extinct in California. The Republican party in New York is more centrist then the party nationally but is in no great shape either.

    No one is surprised when the Senator from Kansas votes wheat and corn.

    The states where IP is of great economic significance --- production and distribution finance, balance of trade --- are the states where you can harvest the most popular and electoral votes.

    These are also the states where the racial and cultural mix is most diverse and dynamic --- and that is by no means coincidental.

    As much as copyright reform may excite the geek, it is not a big winner politically.

    1. PyLETS

      Re: Think interests not bribery.

      "As much as copyright reform may excite the geek, it is not a big winner politically."

      That depends how much it excites the 2% who might vote on this basis, and how many of them live in marginal constituencies. 2% voting on a single issue in marginal constituencies can concentrate the minds of mainstream candidates on this issue wonderfully, if these 2% are well organised.

  9. frank ly Silver badge

    The free market and laissez faire capitalism

    At least he's now free to look for a job with another major political party. Oh, ... wait a minute.

  10. Rambler88
    IT Angle

    Depends on whose ox is gored

    Suppose that IT--hardware and software--did not have the cash-flow and continuous employment that is guaranteed by dynamic obsolescence. Suppose its products, if they were any good at all, might remain useful indefinitely. Suppose that in some cases their value might not be recognized for years after they were created. Suppose that some products took years to complete. Suppose that, given the above, a living wage was not guaranteed to any half-competent practitioner, as is the present case with IT. In that case, both the extreme freetards and the "moderate" freetards might have different ideas about a 75-year copyright.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Two kinds of prostitutes.

    Those who give it in the arse and those who take it in the arse.

    "Two sources within the RSC told the paper that Khanna's was fired after complaints from Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who received large amounts of campaign finance from the media industry, and from media industry lobbyists."

    Getting sacked by these people like these, is actually quite a compliment.

  12. Dick Pountain

    Playing Monopoly

    The only downside of Obama's reelection is that I miss the Republican trolls. Maybe we could get them listed as a protected species? As for this story, I said my piece at

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Frank Zappa

    “Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons.”

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An Honest Politician

    is one who stays bought. Looks like Ms Blackburn qualifies.

    "Two sources within the RSC told the paper that Khanna's was fired after complaints from Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who received large amounts of campaign finance from the media industry, and from media industry lobbyists."

  15. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Ignore the Power Players, Love the Publishers

    My suggestion for Copyright Reform is simple.

    Stripping a Copyright Notice is wrong, but who owns the Copyright Glyph ?

    The original author, that's who, and the glyph can easily be made into a hyperlink which points to derivative works, "dogfood of value" and the Copyright Notice is preserved. Any Publisher would be happy to endure that tiny stick with the hope of sharing that big fat, tasty carrot.

    Of course the same thing goes for Registered or Trademark Symbols.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Copyright laws are not the problem. Pirates who are criminals by law - are the problem. Japan has the proper solution with mandatory 2 year prison sentences for all who pirate. Every country should adopt this mandatory punishment so that it is uniform world wide. If you pirate you go to prison for two years. End of discussion.

    1. Vic

      Re: Clueless



    2. MacGyver

      Avast ye matey.

      Right, the "thousands" of pirates out there are taking down the media corporations. There are 7 billion people on this planet, plenty of people to get money from, the problem is they don't want their money. If they truly wanted money, they would sell content to people the way people want it, instead they have been swimming upstream trying to put the river back cup by cup. Maybe they should try holding their breath, that sometimes works for little children as well.

      I am willing to pay for content, just not to the tune of $4.99 a TV show, a show that 300 million people just saw for free, a show that in 6 months will be one of 24 for $30 in a DVD box set. I also am not willing to "stream" anything for the same $5, the whole time my viewing being completely contingent on the whole of the internet working for 2 hours straight (let alone having nothing to show for it afterwards).

      If they really want to make money, offer a monthly service for say $30, and let me "subscribe" to the shows I want to watch, and let me download them to my computer when I want, and watch them on whatever gadget I choose from XBMC to Boxee and Apple to Android. Given the choice between $30 and breaking the law, with all other things being equal, most people will pick the legal option. If most of the English speaking world subscribed, it would equal billions of dollars a month, plenty of money for everybody. Instead, they show it for free to some, and never even offer it for sale to others. Case in point, try to buy season 6 or 7 of "Mad About You", a TV show that aired almost 20 years ago, you can't, they don't sell it, not even as a digital download.

      See they don't really want our money, they want to bitch about the good old days, that's great, they can tell it to lighthouse operators and steam engine engineers.

      They are doing exactly what the guy's paper said, using government funds and resources to protect their outdated business model. Throwing kids and old ladies under the bus as needed, as long as they catch those pesky pirates.

      Oh, and AC, you're an idiot, should we also throw people that park in front of fire hydrants in prison for 2 years, their crime actually endangers peoples lives. Do you have any idea how much is costs to keep a person in prison? All to protect these companies profits? You are either a troll, pod-person, or media company shill, either way, go home.

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