Last month, Republican Study Committee staffer Derek Khanna published a critical policy brief titled 3 Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. In it Khanna explains why 3 prevalent beliefs about copyrights are nothing more than myth:
- The purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator of the content
- Copyright is free market capitalism at work
- The current copyright legal regime leads to the greatest innovation and productivity
Khanna is absolutely correct in his assessment. The current copyright system is so broken and has strayed so far from "promot[ing] the Progress of Science and useful Arts" as outlined in the Constitution, that the Founders wouldn't even recognize it today. It is a system in desperate need of reform. However, there are powerful benefactors of this system whose businesses would be severely impacted should the reforms recommended in Khanna's brief be taken seriously by policy makers.
It should come as no surprise that once members of the Recording and Motion Picture associations got wind of the paper, they went ballistic. They demanded the RSC remove it, and Republican leadership was apparently more than happy to oblige. The brief was taken down from the RSC's website within 24 hours of its posting. But getting the brief taken down wasn't enough -- a message had to be sent. When Congress reconvenes in January, Khanna will not be among the staffers who have a job to return to.
These events represent a major black eye for the GOP, and it exposes them as nothing more than hypocrites -- the party purporting to be for small government and free market capitalism is, in reality, nothing more than the party who does the bidding of wealthy special interests looking to make sure the government trough stays full. For Khanna and the rest of us, these events are an indication of what happens when you show the world the emperor has no clothes.