| Sunday November 23rd 2014

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Tell the copyright czar how US enforcement should work


You’ve got nine days left to file comments for Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s new copyright enforcement czar, and her department’s inquiry on how the US should best enforce copyrights. Given that the president himself has spoken out in favor of the secret and sinister Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (a.k.a. ACTA — a punishing copyright treaty that seeks to expand the American DMCA and push it around the world), and that he plans to bring it down by executive order, without an act of Congress, this is especially urgent.

Office Depot copyright infringementThe good folks at Public Knowledge have worked up a tool to help you file comments, along with a good, easy-to-follow briefing on issues that Ms Espinel needs to hear about.

The Joint Strategic Plan should carefully examine the basis for claims of losses due to infringement, and measure credible accounts of those losses against all of the consequences of proposed enforcement measures, good and bad.Measures like cutting off Internet access in response to alleged copyright infringement can do more harm than good. Internet connections are not merely entertainment or luxuries; they provide vital communication links, often including basic phone service. This is even more clearly unfair in cases where users are falsely or mistakenly accused.

Internet service providers should not be required or asked to violate users’ privacy in the name of copyright enforcement beyond the scope of the law. Efforts to require or recommend that ISPs inspect users’ communications should not be part of the Joint Strategic Plan.


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