Digital Policy Roundup

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SIIA Submits Statement on Copyright First Sale for the House IP Subcommittee Hearing

Yesterday, as part of its copyright policy review hearings, the House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property Subcommittee held a field hearing in New York City to address the copyright law’s first sale defense. Testifying at the hearing were Stephen M. Smith, representing SIIA-member John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Also testifying were Jonathan Band for the Owner’s Rights Initiative; Greg Cram for the New York Public Library; Matthew Glotzer; John Ossenmacher for ReDigi; Ed Shems for edfredned illustration & design; Emery Simon for BSA; Sherwin Siy for Public Knowledge and Professor John Villasenor, of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. In addition to Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler, only four other members made the trip to New York for the hearing (Reps, Holding, Chaffetz, Deutch and Jeffries). The general consensus view from both the witnesses and the members present was that a legislative change to the first sale defense is not necessary or appropriate. To the extent there is a “first sale problem,” that problem has more to do with managing customer expectations and improved customer education and changes in the way new technologies enable marketing of copyrighted works, and not with the legislative language language or policy underlying the copyright law’s first sale defense as codified in Section 109. For more information on the issue, see SIIA’s statement for the hearing record and blog.

SIIA Submits Comments to ICANN on How to Improve ICANN Accountability

Our submitted suggestions for enhancing accountability focus on predictability in the bylaws governing ICANN; transparency, especially in obtaining information on the rationale for decisions; inclusiveness, including for non-traditional ICANN stakeholders; responsiveness to stakeholder inquiries; conflict-of-interest avoidance as ICANN revenues continue to increase; independent review, perhaps an independent Inspector General; redress including a review of the Independent Review Process function; and, public accessibility to the Board, perhaps at the Internet Governance Forum. We look forward to a robust discussion with other stakeholders on these ideas. SIIA also supports full funding for the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) to manage the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) transition. The Information Technology Industry Council and the Internet Association also come out in favor of full funding. (Note: There are bills in Congress to withold some funding from NTIA to prevent its evaluating proposals for the IANA transfer.)

New America Foundation Hosts McKinsey for Globalization Discussion

McKinsey has published an interesting report called “Global flows in a digital age: How trade, finance, people, and data connect the world economy.” The consulting firm offers a new framework with which to view the digital age by constructing a “Connectedness Index.” The Index estimates to what extent countries are connected through flows of goods, services, financial transactions, people, and data/communications. McKinsey finds that Germany is the most “connected” country with the United States coming in at third place. The firm also finds that these flows contribute between 15% to 25% of global GDP growth. So-called knowledge-intensive flows account for about half of these flows, underscoring the importance of strong intellectual property rights systems. Clearly, data flows accompany the other flows in McKinsey’s Connectedness Index. The question, which McKinsey acknowledges, is to what extent one can measure the economic value of data flows. As McKinsey points out, between 2005 and 2012, cross-border Internet traffic grew 18-fold, but that does not mean that the economic value of those flows grew 18-fold. Nonetheless, data is clearly a fundamental underpinning of modern economies and trade, and data’s importance is undoubtedly growing. Measuring the economic importance of data flows, and understanding the policy parameters needed to promote those flows, will be increasingly important in coming years.

David David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.