ADP & RIAA Call for Less Legislating
Over the past year, we've seen a significant involvement in
the copyright debate by the legislative branch at all
levels, whether on Capitol Hill, the California Senate or
New York State Assembly. But the ultimate question remains
unanswered: what is the proper role of government in
protecting creators & consumers' rights without impending
market growth and innovation?
On the one hand, Alliance for Digital Progress President
Fred McClure called on all sides at a recent Hollywood's
Digital Media Summit to "reject attempts to have the
government design content protection schemes," a direct
reference to the Senator Hollins' bill, instead relying on
the technology sector "developing consumer friendly
solutions for protecting digital content".
"Technology mandates by government will stifle innovation,
impede technological development, impair product
performance, increase consumer costs, and amount to nothing
less than a tax on entertainment and Internet use. This is
not acceptable. It would amount to a major roadblock to our
mutual pursuit of digital progress."
On the other hand, RIAA Chairperson and CEO Hilary Rosen at
this year's NARM Convention vigorously questioned the need
for legislation explicitly protecting consumer's fair use
rights, a stab at bills proposed by Representatives
Boucher/Doolittle and Lofgren.
"Consumers currently enjoy the ability to make personal
copies and it makes no sense to legislate in this area. Does
anyone in this room really believe we need to find more ways
for people to copy and distribute music? Legislating where
it's not needed and possibly creating new loopholes for
people to abuse is not in the interest of record labels or
My own views on both types of legislation have been fully &
frequently aired in this newsletter. But it does not answer
the broader question of what standard should be used to
determine when & how government should intervene.
Government's role in the global sense is obviously to
represent the interest of society as a whole, or as
economist would say, to maximize social welfare.
This, I would contend, is the basis for Congress' power to
grant copyright under the US Constitution: "to promote the
progress of science and useful arts." Promoting the arts
clearly increases the general welfare of society and thus
may require the granting of exclusive rights to creators
over their works. The fact that the Constitution explicitly
restricts Congress' power to grant such rights "for limited
times" further reinforces the Founding Fathers' concern for
promoting social welfare. Otherwise, it would not have ruled
out a blanket exclusive right that would be to creators
benefit, but not to society's as a whole.
So, in judging the various calls for more or less government
intervention, ask yourself how such proposals would impact
society as a whole, from songwriters, composers & musicians,
to the music & tech industry, and music buyers & lovers.
Related News from Mi2N:
» Alliance For Digital Progress President Shares Vision Of Digital Frontier
» Prepared Remarks Of Hilary Rosen At National Association Of Recording Merchandisers Annual Convention And Trade Show