US Copyright Czar wants your thoughts on how to measure and reduce infringement

Victoria Espinel, the Obama Administration's new copyright enforcement czar, wrote in to tell us that her office is running a new public inquiry into how the US should enforce copyrights. It runs a little to the "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" in the questions it asks ("[What are] the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property violations, and the threats to public health and safety created by infringement?") but the fact that they're opening this up to the public and seeking comments from all sides is good news. Comments are due by Mar 24. What I'm wondering is if they'd be up to recommendations like, "Reduce infringement statistics by clarifying copyright law to make it clear that incidentally capturing some copyrighted music in the background while your toddler is dancing in the kitchen isn't infringement." Admittedly, judges are pretty good at interpreting the law in those cases, but that means that you have to be able to afford to pay a lawyer.

Still, a standardized, rigorous way of reporting infringement would be a good recommendation -- remember that the oft-cited statistics for job-losses due to piracy are an outright (and admitted) fabrication, as are the stats on college downloading. Getting some rigor into the numbers game would do a world of good.

This request for comments and for recommendations for an improved enforcement strategy is divided into two parts. In the first, the IPEC seeks written submissions from the public regarding the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property violations, and the threats to public health and safety created by infringement. In the second part, the IPEC requests detailed recommendations from the public regarding the objectives and content of the Joint Strategic Plan and other specific recommendations for improving the Government's intellectual property enforcement efforts. Responses to this request for comments may be directed to either of these two parts, or both, and may include a response to one or more requests for information found in either part.
Coordination and Strategic Planning of the Federal Effort Against Intellectual Property Infringement: Request of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for Public Comments Regarding the Joint Strategic Plan (Thanks, Victoria!)
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