In the wake of the Democratic win in the House of Representatives, some chairs will be rearranged. Democratic representatives will take over as chairmen of the House Committees. Of the committees most relevant to copyright in the digital age is the Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee which is currently chaired by Republican Lamar Smith of Texas. The ranking Democrat (and soon to be chairman) is the Honorable Howard Berman of California.Link
Mr. Berman, according to the National Journal, can be expected to support restrictive copyright and intellectual property laws. Representing the Los Angeles / Hollywood area, Berman will "protect his nearby Hollywood interests by cracking down on piracy and protecting against copyright infringement of TV, music and movie productions." In the past, he has supported legislation allowing copyright owners to "file blocking, redirections, spoofs and decoys" to fight piracy.
Reader comment: Mike Masnick from Techdirt says
Just wanted to add that it's not yet clear that the head of the IP subcommittee will be Howard Berman. Some expect him to pass on that role to focus on different opportunities, in which case it will go to Rick Boucher, who is well known as being very much in favor of consumer rights and reforming the DMCA.Alex says,
As long as we're forecasting on political issues BB covers, it's worth pointing out that the next chair of the also-pertinent Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is likely Rep. Ed Markey (MA-07).University of Minnesota Law School Associate Professor William McGeveran says,
Rep. Markey is the ranking member on the E&C subcommittee right now, and has been a staunch advocate of network neutrality. (Of course, he was also the one who called for Chris Soghoian's head for the boarding pass generator...but to his credit, he did own up to his misjudgment two days later, and asked authorities to take Soghoian's intent as a researcher into account.)
All in all, the change in leadership (from the neutricidal Rep. Fred Upton) is a positive sign for fans of the internet as we know it.
Further to your post about future congressional leadership on internet issues, I just put this blog post up (I used to work on Capitol Hill): "Election’s Impact on Info/Law." Link.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.