US Group Creates Social Platform To Lobby For And Create Internet ReformsPublished on 19 March 2012 @ 3:26 pm
By Maricel Estavillo for Intellectual Property Watch
Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC-based public interest group, has launched an initiative that capitalises on active participation from American online and social media users to lobby for the adoption of some reforms in internet governance aimed at protecting knowledge access.
Called the Internet Blueprint, the online lobbying platform asks Americans to support reforms that the group endorses through the use of social media. The reforms are already contained in pending legislative bills, but new ideas are also encouraged.
The link to the website is here.
The group has posted six bills to the website so far. Each bill is accompanied by an explanation of the proposal and by a list of organisations and companies that have expressed support for the bill.
â€œThey make up a plan â€“ a blueprint, if you will â€“ that would strengthen and improve the way that the internet and law relate to one another,â€ the group said.
The six bills are the following:
The bill titled â€œStrengthening Fair Use Actâ€ seeks to eliminate unfair damages for fair use. It calls for the elimination of forced repayment of copyright owners’ legal fees in fair use cases and the expansion of examples of uses in fair use.
The “Shortening the Term of Copyright Act,â€ would shorten US copyright protection terms to the life of the author plus 50 years from present 70 years or a flat 50 years from present 95 years if the author is an employee.
The “Reducing Copyright Abuse and Overreach Actâ€ is designed to prevent copyright owners from claiming powers that the law does not grant them, according to the accompanying explanation of the proposal.
The “Eliminating Barriers to Lawful Use Actâ€ seeks to amend the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by allowing the breaking of digital rights management (DRM) for lawful uses and enable the sale of tools for lawfully breaking DRM.
The “Transparency and Accountability in IP Trade Negotiations Act â€œ calls for transparency in forging trade agreements on intellectual property and for any US Trade Representative (USTR) advisory group to include representatives from public interest groups.
The “Strengthening and Improving DMCA Safe Harbors Actâ€ seeks to improve the notice-and-take down process in which an intermediary is obliged to pull down content upon receipt of a complaint and asks for higher penalties for the harmed party.
In addition, the group has started to solicit proposals from users and open these to voting by other users.
â€œOnce you have seen the bills, take a look at the ideas proposed by the community. If you would like to see those ideas turned into bills, create an account and vote for them,â€ the group said.
The two most-voted proposals so far are extending first-sale rights to users and for network providers who offer services that violate the internet neutrality standard to be prohibited from labelling their services as â€œinternet services.â€
Maricel Estavillo, an intern at Intellectual Property Watch, is an LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Competition Law Candidate at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC). A former business journalist in Manila, Philippines, she is currently working on research on copyright in digital media for her Masterâ€™s thesis.
Maricel Estavillo may be reached at email@example.com.