April 18, 2014

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Lobbyists to Solve Copyright Problem

Declan McCullagh at news.com reports that “Technology and entertainment lobbyists will sit down at the negotiating table [today] to seek a resolution to the long-running political spat over digital copyright.”

The article makes the alarming but unstated assumption that the last Congress’s refusal to pass any “anti-piracy” bills is actually a problem. When Congress rejects bad bills, that’s not an “impasse,” that’s democracy at work. We should all hope that Congress continues to reject any bad bills that are put before it.

It’s a classic error to assume that every social problem can best be solved by passing new laws. Copyright infringement is a difficult problem, but so far I haven’t seen any convincing argument that passing laws can do much to address it.

Clarification (added at 11:30 AM): Declan is one of the last people I would expect to make the “classic error” of assuming that all problems require government action. I suspect the hand of an editor at work here.