Derek Khanna first came to public notice in 2012 after writing a lopsided anti-copyright “policy brief” for Republican Study Committee called “Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It.” A day after the document was released it was withdrawn and Khanna lost his job at the end of the 112th Congress. He blamed wealthy donors in the “entertainment industry” for his dismissal and quickly became amartyr for the anti-copyright cause. He ended up at as Yale Law Fellow with the Information Society Project.
Unfortunately, like many of those in the legal field who are working to undermine creator’s rights, Mr. Khanna speaks from a decidedly one-sided perspective in penning a piece for today’s Washington Post that ominously warns that “Hollywood should not decide our copyright laws.” Aside from selecting a splashy but lazy (and inaccurate) headline for his piece, he conveniently ignored the (Tech) elephant in the room when he wrote, “ Last year’s defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) caused industry groups to intensify their lobbying efforts. And they haven’t been subtle about it.” Sure, television and motion picture interests have increased their presence in Washington, but then so has “Big Tech.”
May I remind you that the reality of the anti-SOPA uprising was in large part a result of a deliberate (and well-funded) astro-turf campaign managed by the big guns of tech (Google, et al) to gin up the public. How hard is it to get the internet in a spin when you’re in control of its major gateways? Certainly there was room for open discussion about the Stop Online Piracy Act and possible revisions to improve it, but the option for an open debate was quickly overwhelmed by an online avalanche of protest. Never mind that the majority of those who Tweeted or posted condemnations on Facebook hadn’t actually read the bill. For them all that was required was a mendacious meme that SOPA would “break the internet” and do away with “free speech” online.