A new paper on copyright gives an extensive and balanced overview of the problems and challenges currently being handled by the courts, policymakers and within the private sector.  But it gets it backwards when it comes to recommendations by recommending government action in areas the private sector is already addressing, and recommending little action where government responses are needed.

The Commerce Department has issued its 101-page green paper on copyright, titled “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy”.  The paper comes from a process that was part of the Internet Policy Task Force, launched in early 2010 by the Administration.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has been a long time advocate of balanced copyright policy.  The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President for Law & Policy Matt Schruers:

“The Commerce Department’s far-reaching study is a valuable resource to understanding the complex landscape of our current copyright system, but its recommendations come up short.

“Despite giving a balanced overview, and recognizing the importance of both rights and exceptions in copyright, the report’s recommendations focus on intervening in existing private sector efforts, while overlooking problems that only the government can solve. It suggests little to help industry combat piracy through marketplace alternatives, and instead dwells largely on enforcement, where industry best practices exist and voluntary initiatives are already underway.

“The best defense is a good offense; the government needs to do more than focus on defensive, enforcement issues, and help industry go on the offense in the marketplace, by crafting solutions to help new services navigate licensing gridlock, technology discrimination, and poor registry information.  An ‘all stick, no carrot’ approach to converting infringements into sales will not succeed.”

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