Back in February, I mentioned that Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) or “copyright czar,” was seeking public input on how to carry out the duties of her office. The deadline for submissions recently passed—and as usual, almost everybody responded on the very last day, so that other groups would not have time to read and respond to their arguments.

Ars Technica covers filings by the content-creating industries, such as the RIAA, MPAA, and so forth, in which they suggest that Espinel should concentrate her efforts on “online copyright theft.”

As Ars’s Nate Anderson points out, the filing mentions almost nothing else. This is a bit odd given that Espinel herself talked more about commercial piracy and counterfeiting operations in her original call for comments, and hardly even mentioned on-line “piracy” at all. Seems like there’s a fundamental disconnect between what Espinel and the content industry think Espinel’s job should be.

And the content industry fears on-line downloading more than cargo containers full of Avatar DVD knockoffs? Seems a little ironic given that the real “pirates” are the ones actually making money from it on a mass scale.

Ars says that the content industry’s filing “calls on Espinel to lean on [companies they feel are not doing enough to combat infringement] so that they ‘work with content owners on a voluntary basis.’” Lean on companies…to work on a voluntary basis? Wait, what?

Ars also mentions the EFF and Public Knowledge’s filings, which suggest Espinel instead look at mechanical licensing of content (such as the music industry does for playing songs over the radio) at reasonable rates—though it is unclear whether this sort of thing actually comes under the IPEC’s authority. At any rate, these consumer advocacy groups feel strongly that more is not better when it comes to enforcement.

Mike Masnick at TechDirt looks in more detail at the content-industry filing, calling it “a wishlist of protectionist, anti-consumer, anti-innovation policies, basically demanding that the White House prop up their own businesses, because of their unwillingness to adapt.”

His choice for the best pro-consumer filing is the 100-page NetCoalition/Computer & Communications Industry Association filing, which Masnick thinks “should be published as a book, and should become required reading for anyone ever writing about, litigating or setting intellectual property policy.”

I have not been able to find any sources listing all received comments. When I do, I will update this story with a link.


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