Draconian copyright laws protect special interests


With the swearing in of the: 113th: Congress, the media has been proclaiming the death of the Tea: Party’s influence in Washington. This narrative is certainly not: accurate, though is true that the: establishment: has garnered more sway since: Election Day than it has had after the 2010 elections.

One primary example of this: took place in the: Republican Study Committee: (RSC). One of the finest: groups of Republicans in the House, the: committee: recently put out an innovative proposal: to change this country’s outdated and draconian copyright laws. The proposal met with rave reviews: from savvy right-wingers and online technology magazines alike. Here, we: finally had a group of Republicans: embracing fresh thinking, reaching out to a: new demographic and appealing to younger voters. Unfortunately, the: applause turned to shock when the: RSC: pulled the memo the very next day.

Americans boast that our: country is better than the corrupt nations in South America. Sadly, this is: increasingly inaccurate when one looks at the laws under which all Americans: live. Take the: “fiscal cliff” deal, for example. Democrats proudly stated taxes: went up on the rich. Republicans proudly stated they prevented tax increases on: most Americans. Yet what was mostly ignored in: careful media releases were the: billions in special tax credits and loopholes reinstated by the law for: NASCAR,: Hollywood,: Goldman Sachs, the wind industry and many other connected: special: interests.

It seems even the best of the: conservatives in the House aren’t immune to this kind of corruption, as: evidenced by their pulling the copyright reform memo so quickly. To top it all: off, the: RSC: fired Derek: Khanna, the staffer who wrote the memo, the same day: the establishment’s preferred: RSC: Chairman, Louisiana Republican: Rep. Steve Scalise, took: over. The charge was unofficially led by: Tennessee Republican Rep.: Marsha Blackburn, whose district includes part of Nashville, Tennessee.: Mrs.: Blackburn’s spokesperson subsequently attacked: Mr. Khanna: and the memo for: “bizarre: ideas.” Apparently, copyright laws that are good for the: public – but bad for country music’s bottom line – are “bizarre.”

This begs the question, what is bizarre: about believing that a potential $900,000 fine for downloading six songs: off the Internet is disproportionate? (Mr. Khanna’s memo cited potential fines up to $150,000 for one copyright infringement.) What’s unreasonable about punishing: corporate lawyers for: making false copyright claims that are made to intimidate: ordinary citizens into silence? Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a: Dream” speech in 1963, and he passed away in 1968.: Why in the: world shouldn’t that speech be in the public domain by now? How does it serve: the American people to have 70-year-old scientific papers still locked away: under copyright laws?: Instead of trying to write fair and balanced laws that: weigh what’s good for the public with the interests of the copyright holders,: the scale is tilted so far towards K Street and their clients that: it’s: sinking into the ground. Yet, when the: RSC: members finally took a step towards: common sense reform, the entertainment industry lobbyists brought them to heel: like dogs that had slipped: their master’s leash.

Of course, copyright laws: are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to collusion between: big government and its Big Business buddies. For instance, the 2008 bank bailouts basically: consisted: of wealthy corporations: asking Average Joe to: “help” them out of a pinch they’d gotten themselves into. Also, $37 billion or 1 percent of the: federal budget: is spent on energy and farm subsidies, mostly to huge corporations.

The level of misdirection: is staggering. Mitt Romney may have been Public Enemy: Number One of the Occupy Movement, but it is Barack Obama who has: collected: more money from Wall Street than any president in history.: Republicans try to sell immigration reform as a way to appeal to Hispanic voters, but how many of them are actually responding to business owners who are giving them campaign contributions in return for cheap labor?: Mr. Obama railed against the insurance: industry when he was pushing his health care reform, but many of the biggest: insurance companies supported Mr. Obama over Mr. Romney because they stand to make: millions once the law goes into effect.

Our political system isn’t: broken. It’s working just fine. Unfortunately, the average: American is not the person the system is designed to help. While effective: copyright reform: wouldn’t make the system as a whole better, it would be a good: first step towards reclaiming a government of the people by the people. The: RSC: should stop letting lobbyists and the: establishment tell it what to do, and: proudly display: Mr. Khanna’s memo as Exhibit A in a new, dynamic direction for the: conservative movement, and for America.

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