US Group Creates Social Platform To Lobby For And Create Internet Reforms

19 Mar

Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC-based public interest group, has launched an initiative that capitalises on active participation from American online and social media users to lobby for the adoption of some reforms in internet governance aimed at protecting knowledge access.

Called the Internet Blueprint, the online lobbying platform asks Americans to support reforms that the group endorses through the use of social media. The reforms are already contained in pending legislative bills, but new ideas are also encouraged.

The link to the website is here.

The group has posted six bills to the website so far. Each bill is accompanied by an explanation of the proposal and by a list of organisations and companies that have expressed support for the bill.

“They make up a plan – a blueprint, if you will – that would strengthen and improve the way that the internet and law relate to one another,” the group said.

The six bills are the following:

The bill titled “Strengthening Fair Use Act” seeks to eliminate unfair damages for fair use. It calls for the elimination of forced repayment of copyright owners’ legal fees in fair use cases and the expansion of examples of uses in fair use.

The “Shortening the Term of Copyright Act,” would shorten US copyright protection terms to the life of the author plus 50 years from present 70 years or a flat 50 years from present 95 years if the author is an employee.

The “Reducing Copyright Abuse and Overreach Act” is designed to prevent copyright owners from claiming powers that the law does not grant them, according to the accompanying explanation of the proposal.

The “Eliminating Barriers to Lawful Use Act” seeks to amend the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by allowing the breaking of digital rights management (DRM) for lawful uses and enable the sale of tools for lawfully breaking DRM.

The “Transparency and Accountability in IP Trade Negotiations Act “ calls for transparency in forging trade agreements on intellectual property and for any US Trade Representative (USTR) advisory group to include representatives from public interest groups.

The “Strengthening and Improving DMCA Safe Harbors Act” seeks to improve the notice-and-take down process in which an intermediary is obliged to pull down content upon receipt of a complaint and asks for higher penalties for the harmed party.

In addition, the group has started to solicit proposals from users and open these to voting by other users.

“Once you have seen the bills, take a look at the ideas proposed by the community. If you would like to see those ideas turned into bills, create an account and vote for them,” the group said.

The two most-voted proposals so far are extending first-sale rights to users and for network providers who offer services that violate the internet neutrality standard to be prohibited from labelling their services as “internet services.”


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