Republicans Briefly Repudiate 40 Years of Tougher Copyright Laws

As the fight over SOPA wound down, I predicted that SOPA might be turn out to be a watershed, permanently turning Tea Party Republicans into copyright skeptics:

For Republicans, opposition to new intellectual property enforcement is starting to look like a political winner. It pleases conservative bloggers, appeals to young swing voters, stokes the culture wars and drives a wedge between two Democratic constituencies, Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

That prediction is starting to look pretty good.  The conservative-led Republican Study Committee just put out a Policy Brief that questions forty years of bipartisan support for tougher copyright enforcement.

Indeed, the Republican Study Committee expresses support for expanding fair use, treating the reduction of statutory copyright damages as a kind of tort reform, punishing false copyright enforcement claims, and limiting copyright terms to twelve years, with increasingly expensive extensions available for no more than 34 years.

It is the most radical proposal for overhauling copyright that we have seen in recent years — and the most head-turning change of direction in decades for either party on intellectual property issues.

UPDATE: That was fast. The policy brief has been withdrawn. The study committee’s executive director’s statement explained the withdrawal this way: “Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.” 

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