Friday, November 07, 2008

A progressive IP and IT policy in the US?

One of the defining characteristics of U.S. IP policy in the last 16 years has been an inevitable move towards stronger protection, while in IT the move has been towards laissez-faire deregulation of media. Many people politically classed as either liberal or progressive have come to expect nothing but bad news coming from the United States government. From the forceful push towards maximalist IP protection pursued by the USTR, to idiotic misunderstanding of the Internet, every time the U.S. passes new legislation in these topics, we brace ourselves for another round of corporatist encroachment.

IP Watch is reporting on some names as the potential advisors to the Obama administration. I have to say that I like the list so far. Arti Rai, Beth Noveck, and Larry Lessig are amongst those mentioned, which seems to fare really well for the next American administration. The top items on the agenda would be network neutrality, bilateral trade agreements, WTO's negotiations, patent reform, and copyright enforcement. It is possible that placing the right people at the top of imporant public policy insitutions would help to steer the United States into a more progressive IP and IT policy. A more liberal administration could also be more friendly to open source initiatives, much like some parts of the European Union are.

Having said that, I have to be a realist and accept that the copyright and telecomms industries have a lot of power regardless of who's in charge, and that it is likely that things won't change that much.

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