My feedback for the OMB for the Joint Strategic Plan.  Want to contribute?  Click here and follow along.
Re: Comments on the Joint Strategic Plan
Victoria Espinel
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
Filed via email
Dear Ms. Espinel:
Any strategic plans for enforcement of intellectual property should measure all of the costs and benefits involved. Enforcement has its own costs to citizens and consumers, especially when legal uses of copyrighted works can be mistaken for infringement.
The Joint Strategic Plan should carefully examine the basis for claims of losses due to infringement, and measure credible accounts of those losses against all of the consequences of proposed enforcement measures, good and bad.
Measures like cutting off Internet access in response to alleged copyright infringement can do more harm than good, and violate the due process rights of the accused. Internet connections are not merely entertainment or luxuries; they provide vital communication links, often including basic phone service. This is even more clearly unfair in cases where users are falsely or mistakenly accused.
Internet service providers should not be required or asked to violate users’ privacy in the name of copyright enforcement beyond the scope of the law. Efforts to require or recommend that ISPs inspect users’ communications should not be part of the Joint Strategic Plan.
The anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can criminalize users who are simply trying to make legal uses of the media they have bought. Breaking digital locks on media should not be a crime unless they are being broken for illegal purposes. The government should not spend its resources targeting circumventions for legitimate purposes, which simply makes a mockery of legitimate uses of copyright protection.
Any plans or agreements on IP enforcement, like the proposed Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) should be made open and transparent. In dealing with questions of copyright and the Internet, too much is at stake for our country’s laws and policies to be made out of the public eye.
William Hopkins
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