back to article Republicans deny Hollywood pressure to pull copyright proposal

The Republican Study Committee, an influential caucus made up of members of the US House of Representatives, has denied pulling a policy paper calling for a reform of the existing patent system under pressure from lobbyists. The policy paper, entitled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it, looked at …


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  1. ratfox


    The luggage full of money had nothing to do with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure

      It is spelled Luggage. With capital L.

      It does not just carry gold but it also tends to eat people who annoy its owner as well.

      Ooops... That is copyright Sir Terry Pratchet... Cannot use that analogy... Here come the penalties against the advancement of useful analogies...

    2. g e

      Probably more like

      Biting the hand that feeds you

      But yeah. money going one way or another.

  2. Someone Else Silver badge

    Repo's (continue to) think we're stupid

    "Instead, the group told El Reg, the paper was published accidentally as a view of one side of the Republican caucus' thinking on the issue and didn't "account for the full range of perspectives among our members."


  3. asdf

    long live eternal copyright

    Won't somebody think of the children? And more importantly all the money their parents shell out to Disney for all the works Walt stole from common story lore? What would happen to the poor Disney shareholders if Mickey ever went into the public domain. Therefore write your representatives and demand eternal copyright because its only fair the great great grandkids should be able to live off their ancestors work gosh darn it.

    1. LaeMing

      Re: long live eternal copyright

      Yes, I am still waiting for my ongoing royalties on those PCs I installed back in '09. And the ones I installed in '10 too.

  4. Grikath


    While it's too easy to go full Tinfoil Hat, and scream "foul play" at the retraction, it is ..interesting.. to see the first official document on the issue of patents and copyright in the US which has honest-to-god actual common sense in it since ...well... decades, was pulled so fast.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dubious...

      You will find that the Republicans are of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, and for the 1 percent. They often only favor the wealthy over the rest

      1. Bronek Kozicki
        Thumb Down

        Re: Dubious...

        ... it would imply that the remaining 99% are sheep fleeced by democratic politicians who supported and continue to support each extension of copyright terms.

        Nah, does not add up. Find some other label to stick to republicans.

        1. asdf

          Re: Dubious...

          Sadly big media owns both parties (look how Obama used Homeland Security as copyright enforcers). Republicans are still twats on this issue like most other issues but unfortunately bipartisanship lives when it comes to insane copyright and patent policy.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    copyright /= patent

    "The first myth is that copyright is there to recompense inventors, where in fact the Constitution states that they are designed for the advancement of science, with inventors getting only limited compensation rights."

    No, that's patents you're talking about there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: copyright /= patent

      > No, that's patents you're talking about there.

      Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Althought I agree with the sentiments of the report, it does seem to be a bit mixed up.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: copyright /= patent

      Yesbut, that's the wording in the constitution that's used to justify copyright laws as well. If you say "that doesn't apply to copyright", you're basically saying "US copyright laws are unconstitutional in themselves".

      (And I don't believe the Supreme Court would agree with you on that.)

    3. sgtrock

      no, it's both copyrights AND patents.

      "Congress shall have power...

      "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"


      Might help if you check your sources now and again...

    4. Tom 13

      Re: copyright /= patent

      Strictly speaking in the context of the sentence you are correct. But in spirit both pieces are set out in the Constitution and both carefully balanced the needs to compensate inventors/authors with the need for originators to be able to broadly adopt and adapt those ideas. If we went back to the original numbers specified and properly limited patents (I'm in favor of bringing back the requirement for a working model), we'd go a long way toward fixing what has been broken.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright heaven

    I wish I had copyright on the grocer's apostrophe. There would be another few pennies for me right here.

  7. Shannon Jacobs

    Patent law is BROKEN (and Copyright law is WORSE).

    The article doesn't mention derivative works, which might be the part of it that causes the most trouble. One path of advance is along the lines of rational evolution, but the increasingly absolute bans on derivative works make it harder and harder to evolve. The alternative is extreme and revolutionary jumps in the dark, which might (or might not) produce some progress on the long run, but they are certainly messy and inefficient and quite often harmful...

  8. veti Silver badge

    Of course Hollywood didn't "pressure" them...

    Why would it need to?

    The world and her dog knows that Big Copyright overwhelmingly supports Democrats. That means that, if there's ever going to be this sort of copyright reform in the USA, it has to come from Republicans, because Dems can't bite the hand that feeds them. So far, so good.

    The relationship between Hollywood and Repubs isn't "Here's some money, now shut up". It's more like "Ooh, how interesting. Yes, of course we should have a full and free discussion of these difficult issues. Of course, if my vital interests are under scrutiny I'll have to vastly increase my political spending, and we all know who that money is going to, don't we?

    "Oh - you don't want to talk about that after all? That's fine, then."

  9. Tom 35

    Republicans deny Hollywood pressure to pull copyright proposal

    They just reached their funding target.


    More like a communist party purge...

    There is another perspective to consider here. The Republicans are really big on "party discipline". The current state of the party is such that it's starting to look like the communists under Stalin. Members are expected to vote with the collective. The GOP is much better at enforcing this in practice than the Democrats are. Anyone that deviates (including Presidential candidates) gets collectively walloped by all of the relevant media talking heads.

    This may have been just far too much academic freedom for the party leadership to handle.

    It simply could have been a matter of Darth Vader choking an upstart General Tagge.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: More like a communist party purge...

      You really need to lay off the Kool-Aid. Reverse the party designations and you have a much more accurate description of the current state of affairs.

  11. dssf

    The Link in TFA is non-working, but the .pdf lives on at:

    This location of the Public Knowledge site:

  12. Esskay

    Fairly obvious

    The mere fact that politicians are stumbling over each other in a mad rush to say "WE MADE A MISTAKE! WE SCREWED UP! WE'RE IDIOTS!" should be warning enough that something much more deadly than loss of the public's trust is standing in the shadows - the RIAA's purse-closers.

  13. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Yeah, right.

    "I know some want to point fingers elsewhere, but the simple fact is that we screwed up, we admitted it, and we hope people will now use this opportunity to engage in polite and serious discussion of copyright law," said Brian Straessle from the RSC."

    Yes, and Steamboat Willie is in the public domain (Mickey himself is not subject to copyright--he's Trademarked, instead). Somtetimes, I wonder if any of the recent copyright cases cited that specific part of the Constitution where it says "limited", and then used logic to dictate that a term longer than the average human lifetime is practically no limit. Also should be noted that the speed of dissemination has increased so much that current terms are anachronistic. Software patents are only so bad because they're so long. Shrink them down to two or three years and people won't gripe about them so much.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Yeah, right.

      Mickey IS covered by copyright. If he's also covered by trademark, he's got double protection. Most people think it is no coincidence that every time the copyright was about to expire on The Mouse, Congress passed an extension of the time limit and grandfathered existing works into the new coverage. IIRC, this was even a point of contention at the Supreme Court, with one side arguing the limit had become so long as to invalidate the concept of 'limited' in the context of the US Constitution. The Court turned down the argument, but telling said while this decision was binding on the lower courts, that if Congress increased the length of copyright again, lower courts should hear any new cases, even if the arguments didn't change.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, right.

        Mickey the character is NOT covered by copyright. He's covered by Trademark. IOW, using the likeness of Mickey without Disney's permission (unless it's for something relatively benign like a holiday display) gets the lawyers on you for Trademark Infringement. That's what got people in the past who lampooned the Energizer Bunny.

        It's the cartoons and other works the CONTAIN Mickey in them that are protected by Copyright. Steamboat Willie, The Band Concert, Fantasia, etc. are all copyrighted. Using excerpts from them except in Fair Use or with their permission is a Copyright Infringement.

  14. Captain Underpants

    I have only one question:

    Has anyone shown this to Mr Orlowski? I'm genuinely curious to see what he makes of it, especially since a lot of the issues described here also substantially apply to the USPTO.

  15. Nameless Faceless Computer User


    Republican... more than a philosophy, less than a religion.

  16. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    The cat is out of the bag

    Fortunately this debacle has at least had some lasting benefit: the next time some government wants to sign up to a treaty that restricts a future government from reducing copyright terms we can point out that "even the US Republican party is having a robust debate on reducing copyright terms -- clearly no one should be removing the ability for a future parliament to change the existing terms in any way they wish". The RSC has done us all a massive favour just by raising this as a valid isue for serious debate.

    I look forward to using this in my next letter to my MP/MEP about the next ACTA-style stich-up attempt.

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