In his blog, Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford and one of the smartest people around when it comes to the new world of intellectual property, offers five Internet-related proposals that Congress should address this session.
Copyright: Orphan Works: Orphan Works legislation is critical. Nonetheless, I strongly oppose the Copyright Office’s “Orphan Works Proposal.” I think it is extraordinarily unfair to current copyright owners, and insanely inefficient. My proposal applies an “Orphan Works Maintenance Requirement” to older works only; the requirement is a form of registration.
Copyright: Remix Culture: Congress should carve a robust exemption to the law for non-commercial remix. Commercial use of such remixes should be regulated by a baseline statutory license.
Network Neutrality: No surprise: I support Network Neutrality legislation. Unfortunately, too many of the reigning proposals are, imho, radically too difficult to enforce. I’ll propose a much simpler rule to enforce that would achieve the legitimate objectives of NN.
Spam: The email system is broken. A bizarre of private remedies to deal with spam now clog the system to defeat many of its original objectives. I’ll propose a modified version of an earlier idea to deal with this problem – a problem that costs the American public many times the total profits of the recording industry, but has gotten but a fraction of Congress’s attention.
Harmful to Minors Material: There’s a simple and minimally burdensome way Congress could protect kids online from material deemed “harmful to minors.” Not perfectly, but certainly better than the current regime. And without constitutional risk.
Lessig plans to record a short podcast to explain his ideas on each of these topics. The first of those, on orphan works, was posted this morning.
All of them should make for some very interesting listening.