Feeds

Republican staffer fired for copyright reform suggestions

Don't mess with Big Content big business

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.