By Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid
I have been at the Copyright Alliance for just over four years, and the time has flown by. A couple of years ago, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I started making note of the things I am most thankful for from the past year. So, I thought I’d continue the tradition by sharing the ten things I most appreciate from 2019 and, to round things out, I’m also including the five things I am not so thankful for.
Ten things I’m thankful for:
- The intelligent, hardworking and passionate Copyright Alliance staff who come to work every day with a smile in search of new ways to effectuate the mission of the Alliance. I am especially thankful to Terry Hart, who worked tirelessly for seven years in support of all our members to improve copyright law, and who has now moved on to greener pastures at the U.S. Copyright Office;
- The organizational members of the Copyright Alliance. Although they may disagree with one another from time to time, at the end of the day, they are able to put aside their differences and make decisions on controversial and/or complex copyright issues that are in the best interest of the copyright and creator communities;
- The millions of creators whose interests the Copyright Alliance seeks to protect, and who – despite having to deal with people who don’t always respect their valuable contributions, and a law that does not always adequately protect them – continue to toil away to create new copyrighted works for the world to enjoy;
- The thousands of creators across the country, as well as friends of the creative community, who sent letters and emails and phoned their Representatives and Senators and urged them to support the CASE Act;
- The 152 co-sponsors and 410 members of the House of Representatives who overwhelmingly passed the CASE Act, H.R. 2426 in October of this year. I am especially thankful for Representatives Jeffries and Collins, as well as their staffs, who introduced the bill back in May of 2019. They believed in us and this bill, and continue to push hard to protect individual creators and small businesses that rely on copyright everywhere;
- The 18 members of the Senate who have (to date) co-sponsored the CASE Act, along with the Senate Judiciary Committee members who voted S. 1273 favorably out of committee in July of 2019. I am especially thankful for the bill’s original co-sponsors — Senators Kennedy, Tillis, Durbin, and Hirono, along with their staffs — for making the bill a legislative priority in the Senate;
- The staff at the U.S. Copyright Office for supporting copyright and creativity every day;
- The Copyright Alliance Legal and Academic Advisory Boards for their dedication and support of Alliance members by sharing their advice, as well as their assistance in filing a regular stream of amicus briefs on behalf of copyright and creativity;
- Books, music, magazines, photos, movies, software, sculptures, poems, video games, art, newspapers, and so many other creative works; and…
- A copyright law that protects these works so that people like you and I can enjoy them.
And five things I’m not thankful for:
- Internet giants who think it’s more important to protect their own interests than to look out for the millions of Americans who made them what they are today, and who value eyeballs (or ears) more than IP. These giants undermine creators by taking others’ content without compensation and/or permission, or without paying the true value that a contribution demands;
- Pirates and piracy who refuse to compensate creators fairly for their hard work;
- EFF, Public Knowledge, Fight for the Future, Re:Create and Engine who philosophically oppose copyright and anything that would help the creative community; and who continue to do their best to spread falsehoods about the CASE Act, grandmas and memes;
- Copyright snake oil salesmen who deceptively further their own business models by misleading the public into believing that creators’ interests and the public’s interest are not aligned, when in reality they are;
- Google, for devaluing creators and creativity; for facilitating the seamless copying of full-size high-res images from their search engine; for copying 11,000 lines of Java under the guise of fair use; for refusing to pay struggling authors when copying their books to improve their commercial search engine; for supporting an ask-for-forgiveness-not-permission approach to copyright on YouTube; and for so much more that I can’t possibly list it all here.
As we look forward to 2020, I know that we’ll all continue fighting the good fight, working diligently to help ensure that creators get a fair break, that their livelihoods are protected, and that they earn a fair wage for the work that they produce.