Could US Election Result Reverse Ever-Stronger Copyright Protection?

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US voters returned President Obama for four more years, and kept his party’s dominance of the US Senate as well as the opposition party’s dominance of the House of Representatives. While the Obama administration has generally allied itself with copyright interests, some see the possibility of a reversal in the US Congress of a trend toward stronger copyright protection.

US nonprofit Public Knowledge today published an analysis of the election outcome that found the possibility that members of Congress might be more amenable to a reversal in the direction of ever more copyright protection, following the resounding defeats of the so-called SOPA and PIPA bills early this year (IPW, US Policy, 19 January 2012; IPW, US Policy, 20 January 2012).

“People are still trying to figure out the long-term effects of 14 million voices united against SOPA and PIPA,” said PK President Gigi Sohn, “but for certain two of the short term effects are 1) there is unlikely to be a bill that strengthens copyright enforcement that moves through either house of Congress without a thorough debate; and 2) there are now more members and Senators looking at the possibility of rolling back some of the relentless march towards stronger and longer copyrights. What makes reform a strong possibility is that it has support from both sides of the aisle.”

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