Feeds

Republican staffer fired for copyright reform suggestions

Don't mess with Big Content big business

High performance access to file storage

A Republican staffer who wrote a position paper suggesting that the current system of copyright legislation might benefit some market-based reform has been summarily fired.

Last month the Republican Study Committee, an influential group made up of members of the US House of Representatives, put out a position paper saying that the current system "violates nearly every tenet of laissez faire capitalism" and instead ensures government-enforced monopolies rather than competitive stimulation.

Excessive fines for copyright infringement harm innovation, wrote Derek Khanna, a 24-year-old staffer with the RSC, since they mean larger companies can sue startups out of business. The unusually long copyright period of 75 years plus the author's life breaks the statutes set out by America's Founding Fathers "for a limited copyright – not an indefinite monopoly," he wrote.

Khanna's paper wasn't advocating abandoning the whole system, or even changing the underlying principles of copyright law. Rather, he suggested that from an efficiency perspective the current system could do with some tuning alongside the basic principles of competition that are supposed to drive modern economics.

The paper went out on a Friday night, but Washington never sleeps, and it was pulled less than 24 hours later after people started noticing that someone was making sense. The RSC told El Reg that the withdrawal was because the paper had not been fully finished and was intended as one part of a position piece, not a finished document.

However, by a curious coincidence Mr. Khanna has now been given his walking papers. It's expected that staffers are let go in January, as the new administration opens for business, but Khanna was shown the door early because of the paper, the Washington Examiner reports.

Two sources within the RSC told the paper that Khanna's was fired after complaints from Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who received large amounts of campaign finance from the media industry, and from media industry lobbyists. The RSC hasn't replied to our request for comment.

There is the faint possibility that Khanna deliberately put the paper up as a lampoon, knowing he was going to be fired. At this hack's last firm, the soon-to-be-downsized staff of PC Direct managed to sneak an entire issue full of such howlers into the last printing as a revenge on management.

But at a time when the Republican Party is supposed to be considering how to broaden its base, it's a worrying sign when even the slightest hint of slippage from the party line is punished so harshly. For a party that claims to be all about the free market, it has a very odd way of showing it. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.