Copyright and Digital Media

By Jon Newton 8/12/04

America's CBO (Congressional Budget Office) says its raison d'etre is to give congress "objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and with the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process." It goes on::


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"Compared with the missions of the Congress's other support agencies - the Congressional Research Service and the General Accounting Office - CBO's mandate is relatively narrow."

This month it released Copyright Issues in Digital Media and in a preface, director Douglas Holtz-Eakin says:

"Rapid technological progress in information technologies poses new issues for copyright law. Today, a digital file can be copied and instantaneously distributed worldwide through the Internet, thus potentially depriving the copyright holder of revenue from licensed sales. As a result, holders of copyright on creative works in digital format are contesting the right of consumers to make personal copies of copyrighted materials. At the same time, consumers are beginning to chafe at copyright owners' use of digital technologies to prevent or deter copying and other unauthorized uses of copyrighted works.

"As digital processing grows more powerful and the high-speed distribution of digital content becomes more pervasive, the debate over copyright issues - in particular, whether copyright law has achieved the appropriate balance between incentives to engage in creative activity and the social benefits that arise from the widespread use of creative works - is likely to intensify. Yet the implications of any change to copyright law extend beyond the producers and consumers of copyrighted material to society at large. Investments in the computer hardware and communications industries, for example, are linked in part to the availability of creative content in digital form. How the current copyright debate is resolved, therefore, is likely to influence the growth of those related sectors of the economy. Potential revisions to copyright law may also have an impact on broader social concerns such as individual privacy.

"Revisions to copyright law could impose mandated costs on producers and consumers of copyrighted material, as well as the providers of goods and services used in conjunction with copyrighted works. This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper reviews current copyright law in the United States and considers the unique aspects of digital technology's challenge to that law. It also examines the prospects for a market-based resolution to copyright disputes over digital content and explores the effect of potential revisions to copyright law on economic efficiency and equity."

Go here for the complete paper.

 


Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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