Creative Commons files comments in U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy
Timothy Vollmer, December 15th, 2010
Creative Commons has filed comments in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy. The Department received nearly 900 submissions over the comment period, which ended December 10. A summary of the Department’s interest in this topic is described below:
The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force is conducting a comprehensive review of the relationship between the availability and protection of online copyrighted works and innovation in the Internet economy. The Department, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seek public comment from all interested stakeholders, including rights holders, Internet service providers, and consumers on the challenges of protecting copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the Internet economy. After analyzing the comments submitted in response to this Notice, the Internet Policy Task Force intends to issue a report that will contribute to the Administration’s domestic policy and international engagement in the area of online copyright protection and innovation.
All of the comments are posted to the NTIA’s Internet Policy Task Force website. The comments of Creative Commons and a few other organizations are highlighted below:
Creative Commons urged the Department to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation by adopting and promoting policies that enable and preserve the ability for users to lawfully share their creativity:
Creativity and innovation on the Internet is enabled by open technologies, open networks, and open content. Support for open licensing and public domain legal tools can help the maintain robust information flows that facilitate innovation and growth of the Internet economy.
Open content licensing is playing an increasing role in digital cultural heritage and the growth of the digital economy. Websites like Flickr, Picasa, Vimeo, Blip.tv, SoundCloud, Jamendo, Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons share millions of CC licensed free cultural works.
Educational institutions, organizations, and teachers and learners use CC tools to overcome the legal and technical restrictions that prevent educational resources from being accessible, adaptable, interoperable, and discoverable.
Scientists and research institutions seeking to overcome the legal and technical barriers to sharing and building on data and knowledge are using CC tools, maximizing potential on investments and accelerating scientific discovery and innovation.
In considering the relationship between copyright and innovation, it is critical to remember that copyright is fundamentally a balance between the rights of the creator and the rights of the public at large. It is unavoidable that copyright creates restrictions on free expression and the free flow of ideas. However, it can also provide a powerful incentive to create. Effective copyright policy finds an equilibrium between the creator’s incentive to create and the public’s right to access, share and build on existing works. To that end, the Department should focus on finding ways to encourage more people to create and contribute. In addition to benefits, the costs of enforcement – both financial and in increased barriers to innovate – must be considered.
Whether for pleasure, education, or commerce, the web’s ability to help fuel innovation has derived from its tapestry of contributions, which are the product of people, communities, and organizations around the world creating, modifying, sharing, and hosting content. In our view, it is imperative that these quintessential qualities of the Internet be preserved without compromising the rights of content producers, whether big or small, and those that host and distribute such content.
[...] the federal government can most effectively promote creativity and innovation in the Internet Economy by encouraging the use of open licensing models and by requiring access to the results of federally funded research.
One of the primary sources of innovation in the U.S. economy is scholarly communications: articles, monographs, and databases written by professors, graduate students, and other researchers in all fields of human endeavor. The ideas expressed in these writings stimulate new research, advance the scientific and technology enterprise, and encourage commercial development of marketable products and services.
[...] the Department of Commerce, and the federal government as a whole, should concentrate their efforts on encouraging the creation and maintenance of robust, open platforms that support commercial and noncommercial ventures. The federal government should not expend limited resources on protecting particular business models in the face of technological change.