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Open Internet

CDT Testifies at House Copyright Hearing

Today I spoke at the latest congressional hearing on possible reforms to copyright law. The hearing topic was the rise of innovative business models, so I and the other three witnesses generally discussed the extensive degree of change and innovation in the marketplace for copyrighted works; my prepared statement urges Congress to focus on ensuring that the copyright regime promotes continued innovation in business models and technologies.  The questions from Members of Congress, though, touched on a range of discrete and tricky copyright issues – the first sale doctrine, options for combatting piracy sites, the appropriate role for voluntary anti-piracy action by search engines and others, music licensing reform, and more. It’s relatively easy to agree on high-level observations about trends in the marketplace, but when the discussion turns to the details of the numerous issues the Members raise, not to mention the many additional issues potentially at play in copyright reform, the answers aren’t easy and agreement will be hard to come by.  More hearings lie ahead, and the Internet Policy Task Force at the Department of Commerce is exploring some of the same questions. Stay tuned.