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Derek Khanna Answers Your Questions 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Last week you had a chance to ask former Republican staffer Derek Khanna about his well publicized firing, copyright law, and the state of the government. Read below to see his answers to your questions.
Do You Still Identify Yourself as Republican?
by eldavojohn

I believe your paper would have been unpopular on both sides of the isle but did the Republican knee jerk reaction to it negatively affect your affinity with the Republican party and your efforts to further their cause? Setting aside your differences on Copyright Law with that party, are you still Republican?

Khanna: Absolutely still a Republican. In fact I actually quibble a bit with your premise. The conservative position is that our current system of copyright is not consistent with the Constitution and inhibits innovation by choosing winners and losers– and pretty much all conservative organizations have come out with that opinion. There is a difference between Republican and Conservative that I won’t get into here, but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology.



Re:Do You Still Identify Yourself as Republican?
by alexander_686

Follow up question: If you had been a Democratic staffer, do you think you would have been fired or would have been treated differently?

That is, what is the interaction between the Republican party verses the general entrenched interests that influences both parties. I have seen many Democrats also advocate for strict IP laws.


Khanna: I’m not sure, I’m not really qualified to assess what happens on the other side of the aisle. But I would think that the memo would never have gotten written at all. The content industry traditionally supports Democrats. And the memo was written for a conservative audience based upon traditional conservative principles.



Law to guide vs. forbid
by Maximum Prophet

One complaint conservatives about liberals is that they tend to try to outlaw stuff reactively. The EPA comes to mind, forbidding property owners certain uses of their land. How can government encourage people to do the right thing without outlawing the wrong thing? How can the government "Speak Softly" but keep the "Big Stick" only when absolutely necessary? With respect to copyrights, could the government tell people it's wrong to let artists starve, while making it easy to justly compensate them for their work?

Khanna: I’m not going to go too off base here, but there are many solutions available other than regulation and forbidding conduct. Often times the market can sort it out, but if, and only if, you ensure that externalities are built in, and you ensure that the government hasn’t already messed with the incentive structures. I’m not really qualified to jump in on EPA issues. And I’m not entirely sure on the rest of your question, as a believer of the free market I don’t think that our copyright system should be built upon ensuring that ALL artists make lots of money and I think that generally the market will facilitate even easier methods of payments with newer technologies.



Re:Great minds think alike
by Tokolosh

My posting from nearly four years ago:

To quote the Constitution: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." What does "limited Times" mean? We can agree that one day is insufficient to be an incentive. We can also agree that infinity is too long to promote progress. Therefore, it stands to reason that there is some optimal duration, which both maximizes the rewards for both the inventors, and society at large. Has any research been done to determine this optimum? Is current legislation based on anything other than what lobbyists can buy for their clients?


Khanna: Terrific question. First, limited times is a term left purposefully vague allowing for Congress to change how long copyright should be. This is a reason why I never said that copyright has to be 28 years – set in stone – as the Founders had (kind of it’s a bit more complicated). And my suggested terms are just suggestions – they were designed to be a starting point for hearings to bring in data.

But I think we have to make arguments for why longer than the Founder term is sound. Arguments like, “Our Founder system of 28 years was premised upon a market of x, and today the market is y, which requires a longer recoupment period for the content producer etc.” But of course that wouldn’t justify our current system of life + 70. In my Cato Unbound piece I go through some of the studies on this topic that pretty conclusively find that there is no incentive to content producers for such a long copyright period.

From the piece:

Research further shows that our system of copyright is suboptimal at best and significantly counterproductive at worst. For much of our history, copyright required registration to receive the full benefit of the extension. If a longer copyright term were critical to provide sufficient incentive to content producers then we would expect, particularly when copyright terms were much shorter, that content producers would choose to extend their copyright. But during the era of registration, Congress found that only “a very small percentage of copyrights are ever renewed.”[2] They found that the rate of renewal in the 1880s was 15%, and less than half of all works were originally registered at all. If a much longer copyright term of life plus 70 years is so necessary, then why did all these content producers choose to only have 28 years of protection rather than the optional 42 years available at the time?

As William Patry argues in his book How to Fix Copyright,

Was there a single author in the world who said, ‘A term of copyright that only lasts for my life plus fifty years after I die is too short. I will not create a new work unless copyright is extent to last for my life plus seventy years’? There is no such person. (p 57)

Several studies have confirmed this as well. In 2009, a study on the production of movies in twenty-three countries that had extended the term of copyright(pdf) found no evidence that longer terms of copyright caused the creation of more works rather than the prior, shorter term. Another study from the University of Cambridge found that the optimal copyright term is 15 years(pdf), with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years. Even the Congressional Research Service concluded that there was at most a small change in incentive in the extension of copyright term.

If there are no or only minimal benefits to this change, what are the costs?”


So in answer to your question there has been a lot of research. We have cross-country research so we know generally what works. And while the data may show slightly different things, it all shows that life + 70 offers us nothing and actually depresses available content. Current legislation is not based upon this discussion, I don’t recall that being the topic of discussion for the last extension, but it should be particularly when the industry comes knocking in 2019 to ask for life + 90 to keep Steamboat Willy from entering the public domain.

I got into some relevant detail in another more recent essay for Cato-Unbound:

“There are certainly legitimate arguments that copyright should be longer than that of our Founders because of certain market conditions that are different from their day – but there are not legitimate argument to say that a system of indefinite copyright abides by the Constitution or our the express intentions of our Founders.

Despite the American history on Copyright, some still argue that copyright should be or could be a perpetual right that exists forever. Many of them have lobbied successfully on a regular basis to ensure that certain highly-lucrative works never enter the public domain. Some against copyright reform hide behind the shadows of claiming that they are not for an indefinite copyright – but every twenty/thirty years they lobby to extend copyright from 56 years, to life + 50, to life +70. It’s very clear what their intentions are. They intend and have largely succeeded in destroying anything of value entering the public domain. Success in perverting the law should not be misinterpreted for constitutional fidelity despite their property law arguments using 18th century vernacular. These proponents are arguing for something very different from what the Founders believed.

Frankly they lost the argument 226 years ago. The Founders explicitly rejected this position.”




Down the Pipe
by CanHasDIY

Is there any future legislation that you know of / heard about during your time as a staffer that we, the People, should get a heads-up on? Specifically, anything nefarious regarding things like copyright, patents, digital property and/or privacy, et. al?

Khanna: Patents need to be fixed and we obviously need major privacy legislation such as ECPA reform etc. I talked about some of the upcoming privacy issues in my interview with Techdirt. I was always particularly concerned with drone strikes against US citizens so I’m happy that is finally receiving some real attention by MSM and the American people.

As I wrote in my piece in the National Review, I think we can do a much better job in allocating visas to high-skilled workers – and I think there is an actual way to accomplish that goal as outlined in the article or other ideas along a similar thought process (perhaps by providing greater help for small businesses acquiring H-1Bs).

But more on topic, we should keep an eye on the Transpacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) because it will be codifying provisions of the DMCA that are very problematic. The DMCA has been used to make some technology “contraband” and to stifle political speech. While we need to protect intellectual property, the DMCA has proved to be a terrible law. It should not be entirely surprising that the DMCA may need revisions and oversight. The DMCA was passed three years before the iPod, six years before Google Books and nine years before the Kindle. But now that it's clear that the DMCA is being interpreted in a way clearly contrary for which it was passed, it’s incumbent upon Congress to act.The idea of putting the DMCA into an international agreement is a very bad idea. If in the United States it has been used to justify censorship of political speech, imagine what other countries will do that don’t have the First Amendment and are looking for legal structure to justify censorship.

This is a big fight and as a Congressional staffer we weren’t allowed to read it – so very scary stuff and I think an unprecedented level of secrecy on this. I also touched upon this in the Cato Unbound piece:

“This treaty includes provisions on intellectual property that are above and beyond those in the Berne Convention. Setting controversial and contested copyright terms in stone through treaty was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. It’s an affront to the legislative process to try to “re-codify” legislative wins into treaty agreements. That would make it significantly more difficult to ever change course.

The length of copyright terms has always received significant debate and disagreement. This was likely the intention of the Founders in not specifying what a "limited time" meant within the Constitution itself. But current drafts of the TPP allegedly establish the law at life plus 70 years. Additionally, it would include or even expand portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) relating to anti-circumvention technologies. To be clear, I am strongly against unauthorized copyright infringement, but the DMCA outlawing of anti-circumvention technologies is extremely controversial—and rightfully so.

The DMCA created rules that until recently made it illegal to jailbreak your own iPhone or to develop a program to read a Kindle book aloud to someone who is blind. The DMCA still bars developing, selling, providing, or even linking to technologies that play legal DVDs purchased in a different region, or to convert a DVD you own to a playable file on your computer. Because no licensed DVD playing software is currently available for the Linux operating system, if a Linux user wishes to play a DVD that they have legally bought, they cannot legally play it on their own computer. The DMCA’s rules have also made legitimate fair uses of copyrighted material much harder. Using snippets of video for classrooms is legal fair use, but to do so, teachers have to use illegal technology to “rip” the DVD to a playable and editable file, or they must illegally download the file online.

Within the leaked details of the TPP Treaty there are many troubling features, but perhaps most troubling is the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Members have been allowed to view documents, but most of their staff and the general public have been denied access. Outside of the national security realm, this type of secrecy in regard to a treaty is particularly troubling and perhaps unprecedented. Another troubling aspect is that despite this secrecy, there have been “stakeholder” presentations representing one particular side and vested interest, rather than the perspective of the general public or the requirements of our Constitution. One of the stakeholder presentations at the latest TPP negotiations was titled "The Walt-Disney Company: Creativity, Brought to you by Copyright.” At the same time, representatives from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) were denied access and not allowed in the building for recent negotiations.”


But the recent decision by the Librarian of Congress really takes the cake, which made it illegal to unlock your own cellphone. In a recent article I stated that:

“Congress's inaction in the face of the decision by the Librarian of Congress represents a dereliction of duty. It should pass a new law codifying that adaptive technology for the blind, backing up DVD's to your computer, and unlocking and jail breaking your phone are lawful activities regardless of the decisions of the Librarian of Congress.” (article)

Our White House petition on this issue is currently at 75,000 but we have to get to 100,000 by February 23, 2013. This will be a big opportunity for advocates of sounds technology policy.



Hope?
by Hatta

How do we Americans manage to retain any hope for any sort of positive change when people who are paid to identify beneficial reforms get fired for upsetting special interests? Doesn't your case prove that it's impossible to effect reform through the system? Do you belive that Democracy in America still exists, and if so, why?

Khanna: Democracy is more than just people voting and it’s more than just activism for your candidate of choice. The people have immense power when they are united and coordinated. Unfortunately, most organizing up till now has required major organizations to set-up – but not anymore.

Members of Congress are particularly sensitive to interests from their constituents as expressed through letters, e-mail and phone calls to their office. This is why a united and coordinated movement can be so successful in stopping legislation. But activist movements, like the SOPA protest, cannot rest after stopping one bad piece of legislation. Instead, we must take the next step which is actually passing good legislation.

I imagine that ad-hoc groups of people who agree on some policy idea will form to both stop bad legislation but also to push good legislation. It will take a while to transition to that, but once that is done, then we will have much more of an effect and a substantive democracy. But that will require activism and involvement.

The cellphone unlocking issue is a perfect example of where the people could actually fix policy. The traditional players in DC are unlikely to do so on their own, the wireless industry likes the ruling, and many of the other technology companies may see this as an issue where they have little to gain– so it’s up to the people themselves to step up and say this ruling is crazy. The idea that average people can be arrested for unlocking their phones is insane. I hope that the people step up for their own property rights.



Lawmakers becoming Obsolete
by SinisterRainbow

The United States was founded as Republic, primarily (so it is said) because having individual voices was impossible with the technology of the time. However, we live in an age where the Internet has given us instant communication and access to vast information, where we can relatively securely pass information around, and where especially, we can have every voice heard to write our own bills and laws. Iceland may be small, but they have proven it's more than just a theory. We have open source books, open source software, open encyclopedia, with more 'open' type projects all the time - which have proved immensely successful and very efficient when it comes to money. However, the trend is in the opposite direction, with more power given to lawmakers and large corporations (in the de facto sense at least as contributions are now unlimited, it raises the bar of entry), and congress with it's two main parties, are in a huge poker match. What do you see as the pros and cons against an open-Bill type of system, where the power of the people get a more realistic voice, where the history can be saved for eternity, where the slightest changes can all be remembered using repositories, where anyone can contribute, where it would save multi-millions of dollars in taxes, where multiple types of Bills can be presented and the one the people wish for most receives the most votes? You have represented a party that claims they stand for smaller government, yet it's one that has increased government size as much and many times, more than democrats. Shouldn't such a system be at the forefront of Republican agenda? Or has big business lined the pockets so fat of every member in congress that this is not possible without some type of revolution..?

Khanna: You are correct that the Republican Party claims they are the party of smaller government, yet they have failed to deliver while they were in power – and conservatives are frustrated with the party for that reason. I think that Democrats have been worse in that regard, but clearly the Bush years were very bad ones for fiscal conservatism.

Your idea for a more open government and transparency is interesting, but while I want the people to be more involved in our process I do like the idea – in concept – of representative democracy (I’m not sure exactly what you are saying in that regard).



Would you do it the exact same way again?
by rmdingler

Hindsight being on the order of 20/15 or so, would you make the same bold statement, or, knowing the consequences and repercussions, would you be a bit more tactful and attempt to reform the system from within?

Khanna: I tried to reform the system from within – by doing my job. In this situation, discretion and tact was used as much as possible.



Now What?
by eldavojohn

You told other staffers when you left: Don't be discouraged by the potential consequences. You work for the American people. It's your job, your obligation to be challenging existing paradigms and put forward novel solutions to existing problems.

So now what? What's your plan? I mean, you can tell them not to be discouraged but that's a pretty hefty weight to put on your own shoulders. Anyone who gets a check from the content industry (and I think that's everyone in DC) is going to blacklist you. Do you see yourself taking a Ralph Nader-like approach to politics? How do you even get your foot back in the door? You do realize that if you don't return or rise to another kind of constituent-focused power that your above encouragement will fall upon deaf ears as you will become the example of what happens to an outspoken staffer?


Khanna: Yes, I stand by that statement. We need creative destruction of failed ideas and we need a thriving competition for promising new ideas. Not solving problems but “getting along” is not enough to fix our system at this point.

In normal times, the system can function by each of us playing a minimal role in its proper functioning – but when the system is like it is today, it requires those of us who are paying attention to be more active participants. Democracy is tough, it requires active engagement and participation.

As for me, I have a bunch of plans in the works. Right now I’m working on the cellphone unlocking issue that I mentioned because it’s outrageous and unacceptable. But it’s also a misstep by the other side and therefore it’s a strategic opportunity to restore property rights. Doing so will start to change the overall discussion on technology policy and it’s a winnable battle. I hope you will consider signing and promoting our White House petition and getting us over 100,000 by the end of the week.

I plan on continuing to write and research on sensible technology policies for our country through my fellowship with Yale Law and hopefully being a part in successful advocacy movements going forward.

Follow me on twitter to find out about my next steps. Or shoot me on twitter @Dkhanna11 and e-mail if you have ideas (Khannaderek@gmail.com).
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Derek Khanna Answers Your Questions

Comments Filter:
  • Couldn't read (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:42PM (#42957415)
    I couldn't read past the first two. "I don't like the Republicans (for how they treated me, for how some of my beliefs align with them), but I guess, without ever really looking, that my conservative views are more closely aligned with Republican, so I'm a Republican for life, no matter how bad they treat me or the rest of the country."

    Does nobody in politics have the ability to think? It's no better than fans beating each other up because someone is in a red shirt sitting in the Cowboys section, or wearing blue in the Redskins.

    When the best defense he can come up with is that his party at least let him write the paper before firing him, and he thinks that it would never have been written on the other side of the isle, then we are truly screwed. Our values are all for sale, so long as we don't ever do anything that might help "the other side" Regardless of what's "best" for anyone.
    • Re:Couldn't read (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SillyHamster (538384) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:14PM (#42957763)

      ) I couldn't read past the first two. "I don't like the Republicans (for how they treated me, for how some of my beliefs align with them), but I guess, without ever really looking, that my conservative views are more closely aligned with Republican, so I'm a Republican for life, no matter how bad they treat me or the rest of the country."

      Funny how you feel the need to make up words to put in his mouth.

      Democrats are anti-conservative. Republicans are a mix of conservative and anti-conservative. Both suck, but one sucks much more.

      Whether you're a social conservative or a fiscal conservative, the past 6 years of majority Democrat rule is adequate evidence for a conservative to dismiss them as an option. Others are free to hold out hope, but hope doesn't mean much in politics. Votes do.

      Furthermore, our political system favors two parties, so influencing one of the main two parties is the easiest path to political success.

      Given that Democrats are not an option, it is completely rational to focus efforts on the other party. If conservative ideas are any good, the other party will start winning elections and force the Democratic party to shift their stance if they want to stay in power.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        The insanity here is not in choosing a R or D, but the absolutist manner in which he identified himself as a conservative. Its like saying that I'll always believe that the theories of Issac Newton for life are absolutely true, regardless of what experiments show. You should always be willing to recalibrate your theories in light of new information. I suspect there is something else behind the conservativisim that is his real goal in life, politics, economics,etc that is unspoken. That is what the focus sh

        • by Artraze (600366)

          > The insanity here is not in choosing a R or D, but the absolutist manner in which he identified himself as a conservative

          You're putting words into his mouth too. And not just a little, but completely:
          "... but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology."

          He's not labeling himself. He is establishing an identity here. He is simply using a word to describe his opinions. One word. The insanity here is you claiming it's "insane" that he would provide

          • Don't have time to tear your argument apart. Political ideology should rise to a standard higher than a personal preference.

            I like consuming ham => no consequence to me.
            I want to elect a governement that requrires all citezens to consume ham => Problem for me.

            He still uses consevatisim as the benchmark for his thinking. This stuff is good, *because* its consevative. Rather than conservatisim is good because of this.

        • The absolutist manner in which you criticize his absolutism is ... interesting. You do realize you've applied a foot bullet to your own argument, right?

          If he knows what principles he stands for, why should he not proudly claim them? Moral questions are not in the same category as scientific questions.

          For example, is "do not murder other people" a result of scientific experimentation, or is it based on principles? Is it subject to change and revision?

          The answer should be obvious - there is no im

          • Moral absolutes aren't.
            You can't just say "Murder is wrong!" as an absolute statement and then quibble about what the definition of murder is. I mean, you can, if you want to tell yourself that you have some sort of superior moral character, but you're still engaged in moral relativism. Logically "Some killing is not murder" is equivalent to "Some killing is not wrong". You can feel free to take refuge in the tautological definition of murder ("wrongful killing") but otherwise you're pretty much hoist on yo

            • You can't just say "Murder is wrong!" as an absolute statement and then quibble about what the definition of murder is.

              I'm not quibbling about the definition of a murder. I was acknowledging the reality that we don't have perfect information, and so we have to make a judgement whether a dead person was murdered or killed. The uncertainty isn't in the definition, it's in the situation - was this murder or self defense or an accident? Depends.

              That we're not sure whether Col. Mustard murdered Mr. Body has no bearing on the reality that there is a definition of murder, and we can agree that someone whose action fits th

              • I don't get the impression that you comprehend a word of what I wrote. "Sometimes it's okay to kill people" is not compatible with moral absolutism. Contrast the statement, "Killing is always wrong," or even better, "Abortion is always wrong."

                The only way that you can make the statement "Murder is always wrong" is to use a circular definition, e.g. "Murder is wrongful killing."

                You're welcome to be condescending but you should work on your reading comprehension. The definition of right and wrong are not bein

                • I don't get the impression that you comprehend a word of what I wrote. "Sometimes it's okay to kill people" is not compatible with moral absolutism. Contrast the statement, "Killing is always wrong," or even better, "Abortion is always wrong."

                  "Abortion is never wrong" is no less a morally absolute statement than "Abortion is always wrong". That overlaps with "Sometimes it's okay to kill people" - which you just claimed to be incompatible with moral absolutes. Care to rethink that, or are you happy to contradict yourself?

                  It seems that you think that morally absolute definitions cannot have exceptions. They can't have arbitrary exceptions, but they can have absolute exceptions. Ex: Killing a man is always wrong; unless he was first at

          • That's a poor attempt to Godel me. "Do not murder people" is absolutely a result of social scientific research. Take a look at ethics. There can be good societal reasons based on research for ethical behavior. Or do you beleive that we must necissarily inject religeous reasoning into our laws?

            • That's a poor attempt to Godel me. "Do not murder people" is absolutely a result of social scientific research. Take a look at ethics. There can be good societal reasons based on research for ethical behavior. Or do you beleive that we must necissarily inject religeous reasoning into our laws?

              Nope. Murder laws predate social scientific research. Attempting to back-credit science for those laws is plagiarism; unless you'd like to cite how mankind developed murder laws through trial and error using a primitive form of the scientific method. (Such a history does not exist; murder laws exist as long as man has recorded it)

              Scientific results are always provisional - "We haven't disproven this yet" As such, it doesn't provide any way to inform ethics. Remember eugenics? That was the S

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      That started with "I’m not really qualified to assess what happens on the other side of the aisle."

      I was actually rather pleased by how up-front he was in saying when he didn't really understand things. If a person follows such a sentence, with a "...but", and you happen to understand "the other side" better than he does, its your own damn fault if you bother to read on.

      OTOH, you'd hope a (former) political operative would make it their business to try to understand "the other side". If nothing else

      • Re:Couldn't read (Score:4, Informative)

        by JWW (79176) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:53PM (#42958179)

        While claiming correctly that he didn't exactly know what happens on the other side of the isle, he did in fact later guess in the same answer that the Democrats would likely not even have written a position paper on copyright in the first place.

        I think he's correct in that assessment.

    • I don't know, do you ever question the constant "crisis mongering" that is going on in Washington these days. I mean the world is going to end if you listen the likes of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, and (R) want to eat babies and kill puppies, starve grandma and polute the world, rape women and dolphins, all because Obama is getting the sequestration he asked for.

      You see, it is all how you look at things and whether or not you like the (D) or (R) better to start. I mean if NDAA happened under GWB, you bet the le

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        I don't know, do you ever question the constant "crisis mongering" that is going on in Washington these days.

        Yes, I question Rove, Bush, Cheney, and the "entertainment" industry around supporting them, Rush, Alex Jones and the rest. They've been "crisis mongering" since the 1980s.

  • Wait, What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:46PM (#42957453) Journal

    I believe your paper would have been unpopular on both sides of the isle but did the Republican knee jerk reaction to it negatively affect your affinity with the Republican party and your efforts to further their cause? Setting aside your differences on Copyright Law with that party, are you still Republican?

    Khanna: Absolutely still a Republican. In fact I actually quibble a bit with your premise. The conservative position is that our current system of copyright is not consistent with the Constitution and inhibits innovation by choosing winners and losers– and pretty much all conservative organizations have come out with that opinion. There is a difference between Republican and Conservative that I won’t get into here, but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology.

    Your response was very confusing to me. So if the Republican Party fired you for saying exactly what "all conservative organizations" opine on the topic of copyright ... then the Republican Party is not a conservative organization? But your opinions are conservative ... but you're still a Republican ... which is a party that has "more of the conservative ideology" but they still fire you for saying what all conservative organizations believe? Do you see where I'm having a hard time grasping how your three sentence response logically adds up? I sorta wish you would have gotten into the difference between Republican and Conservative. I guess that's the key to understanding how they fired you? My assumption is that money trumps ideology in politics.

    Why retain the label of Republican when you could just call yourself Conservative and identify the problems with the Republicans or side with Libertarians or Tea Party? I mean, you sell your idea as core Conservatism and publish it for Republicans yet you're fired for it. And then you still continue to call yourself Republican? Why?

    • Like it Or Not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:58PM (#42957597)

      The levers of Power are held by two competing teams.

      And just like NFL franchises, changing the owners of the teams takes a lot of money.

      If you want to play, then you have to pick a team (Republican or Democrat).

      If you want to watch, then you can root for each team equally depending on their field position or which down they are on (independent).

    • Wish I hadn't spent all my modpoints weeding out trolls. A+ sir.
      • Stick to weeding out trolls.

        eldavojohn goes off the rails in his first sentence. Khanna was not fired by "the Republican Party." He was fired by *one* guy at the request of a handful of others. That's what you want to give A+ to? Don't ever go into teaching, please.

        Overall the Republicans are still more conservative, so a conservative like Khanna will have the best luck working within the GOP, perhaps with, you know, one of the *thousands* of others who didn't fire him.

    • When I read the question, I knew that is exactly what the answer would be, already knowing those were exactly the problems with that response. That sounds like I'm bullshitting after the fact, but this is a repeating response to republicans doing something a republican finds distasteful throughout the last couple decades.

      As a similar example, ask someone you know who voted for Bush twice what they think of him now. About 60% of them will give exactly this response.

      And before anyone gets on my case, it's n

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        Whew, that got my head spinning almost as much as the first answer. "That sounds like I'm bullshitting after the fact, " Indeed, but you continue here with a distracting example about Bush that in its self, does not make sense. that last sentence then implies you aren't intelligent to be able to change opinion even in the face of facts...doesn't that negate your whole copyright approach?

        When politics becomes religion, when dogma, not reason rules the day it does not matter what the party, it is a path to

    • Why retain the label of Republican when you could just call yourself Conservative and identify the problems with the Republicans or side with Libertarians or Tea Party? I mean, you sell your idea as core Conservatism and publish it for Republicans yet you're fired for it. And then you still continue to call yourself Republican? Why?

      US politics encourages a two party system.

      I would also guess he feels connected to the historical Republican Party. It was anti-slavery on principle, because it believed in a nation of ideals, not race.

      Wiki has some good quotes from Lincoln, but especially read the ones from the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1958). http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln [wikiquote.org]

      If they [immigrants from other nations] look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none [...] but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" and then they feel that [...] they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration; and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Politics is partially about popularity. And the GOP is still the most popular conservative party by far. And make no mistake, there are a large amount of Republicans out there that are in fact interested in small government (*ahem* Ron Paul *ahem*). They're just not the dominating faction.

      Of course, this is really all a symptom of the two party system. If he doesn't identify as a Republican, he's not going to go anywhere. The Libertarian party, while it exists, isn't exactly the most well-known. And the Tea

  • "side of the isle" ... yeah... congress as an island... I'd float this idea.
  • *facepalm* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:18PM (#42958993) Homepage

    One complaint conservatives about liberals is that they tend to try to outlaw stuff reactively. The EPA comes to mind, forbidding property owners certain uses of their land.

    Oh yeah, that wacky liberal who gave us the EPA. What was his name again, that pot smoking, Grateful Dead following hippie?

    Richard Nixon.

    That Nixon is now considered a liberal is all the proof I need that US politics are truely farked beyond all recognition.

  • but it should be particularly when the industry comes knocking in 2019 to ask for life + 90 to keep Steamboat Willy from entering the public domain.

    I feel it's important to have a good copyright system. At the same time, this whole life + 70 nonsense is, as we've discussed, counterproductive. To that end, I propose a national day of piracy every year. Perhaps on April 1st, although I'm open to other ideas (September 19th?). The goal being to declare a specific day of civil disobediance where we openly p

    • but it should be particularly when the industry comes knocking in 2019 to ask for life + 90 to keep Steamboat Willy from entering the public domain.

      I feel it's important to have a good copyright system. At the same time, this whole life + 70 nonsense is, as we've discussed, counterproductive. To that end, I propose a national day of piracy every year. Perhaps on April 1st, although I'm open to other ideas (September 19th?). The goal being to declare a specific day of civil disobediance where we openly pirate something that should be public domain and then declare what you pirated on a social network.

      And if you openly pirate, say, Steamboat Willie, on the grounds that it should have passed into the public domain, I think that's a reasonable and arguably justifiable protest. But if you openly pirate, say, Wreck-it Ralph, or Brave, or (shortly) Monsters University - movies that have been out for less than a year - then your alleged argument that copyright should have a shorter, 20-30 year term is unsupported by your actions.

      And therein lies the problem... How many people are pirating Steamboat Willie, th

      • by Ed Bugg (2024)

        And if you openly pirate, say, Steamboat Willie, on the grounds that it should have passed into the public domain, I think that's a reasonable and arguably justifiable protest. But if you openly pirate, say, Wreck-it Ralph, or Brave, or (shortly) Monsters University - movies that have been out for less than a year - then your alleged argument that copyright should have a shorter, 20-30 year term is unsupported by your actions.

        And therein lies the problem... How many people are pirating Steamboat Willie, the Seven Year Itch, To Catch a Thief, etc., as opposed to recent movies, music, games, and software? The Top 10 most pirated movies chart [torrentfreak.com] for this week lists Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, Django Unchained, Argo, The Hobbit, Here Comes the Boom, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty, and Robot and Frank, every one of which is less than a year old. Similarly, the top pirated games (for 2011, I can't find 2012 numbers) [torrentfreak.com] were all released that year.

        ...

        Your suggestion isn't bad, except that people shouldn't be pirating just anything, but specifically things that would have fallen into the public domain but-for the last extension. Things that are currently 60 years past the life of the author, say. That would be a meaningful, and credible, protest.

        I agree with you that there's a difference, but...

        I'm reminded of a story I heard somewhere (book, movie, sorry can't remember) were some people were on their way to work and they where discussing the fact that if they were late the punishment was death. Somewhere along the way they were delayed and were going to be late for their work and one guy asks another one what is the punishment for revolting, and the answer was death. So faced with the same punishment if they revolted or late for work and they we

        • I'm reminded of a story I heard somewhere (book, movie, sorry can't remember) were some people were on their way to work and they where discussing the fact that if they were late the punishment was death. Somewhere along the way they were delayed and were going to be late for their work and one guy asks another one what is the punishment for revolting, and the answer was death. So faced with the same punishment if they revolted or late for work and they were already late for work, they decided to revolt instead.

          While the current punishment for piracy isn't death, it's the same if you pirate a movie that would of been in the public domain vs. something that is current and wouldn't be in the public domain; then to the pirate, what is the difference?

          Of course to the pirate, nothing, but if the purpose of the piracy is civil disobedience (which the OP was talking about and you responding to) then it does matter because it would be to express the idea that Copyright is broken.

          Ah, but it's not exactly the same. Sure, the charge - copyright infringement - is the same, but there's a difference between Disney asking a jury for huge statutory damages for you distributing a copy of Wreck-it Ralph, and Disney asking a jury for huge statutory damages for you distributing a copy of Steamboat Willie. It's that credibility thing I mentioned. The jury is going to side with the person making an obvious political stand over the one who looks greedy and is trying to claim a political point as

  • Many of the comments in response to this article are depressing, with the "la la la I can't hear you!" from posters who are..well crap, if I say "liberal" or "democrat" or any label they're going to start nitpicking over that, so I'll just say "are probably people who are used to not liking things Republicans say." The "us vs them" attitude is counterproductive towards actual change.

    Here is a Republican whose ideas about copyrights, patents, and the DMCA seem to line up pretty darn well with the Slashdot gr

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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