Current scandals aside, when the history of the Obama Administration is written the topic of crony capitalism will need a section to itself. From the high profile failures of green energy projects to the bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit, handing out taxpayer dollars to private industry is a hallmark of the president’s economic policy. But President Obama is not alone responsible for approving these giveaways. Congress has played a critical role, especially when it comes to subsidies to Hollywood and the recording industry.
Instapundit.com creator, Glenn Reynolds, has done yeoman’s work connecting the dots. He has extensively documented how the “content industry” has taken advantage of the tax credits and subsides on the federal, state and local levels, to pad their bottom line. But Hollywood’s biggest giveaways don’t occur on the tax-writing committees in Congress but the Judiciary Committee — where copyright policy is written.
Using every means at their disposal, Hollywood has attacked the balanced approach inherent in our Constitution. Unfortunately, members of both parties have played the game that has stifled economic growth and competition and given the content lobby their near every demand. In short, Congress continues to look for more draconian ways to help copyright holders enforce their copyrights without regard to the impact on users and consumers.
That’s why it was a pleasant surprise to hear House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announce a comprehensive review of copyright law. Goodlatte’s “Copyright Principles Project,” is an effort to build consensus around copyright laws between consumers, the content lobby and technology. Yet supporters of free market reforms viewed the announcement with both optimism and skepticism. There have been few supporters of reform within both parties and Mr. Goodlatte does not have a good track record of support for free market principles on these issues. But one can hope.
There are a number of reforms Mr. Goodlatte can endorse that will benefit consumers and help re-balance the law. Among them: