Archive:2006-2007 Policy Paper/Notes

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Notes by the board of directors


This document will tell us what our positions are on specific issues, so that we can take those positions and fill them out into "issue papers" that can be handed out to legislators.


  • 1 line / sentence summary of what we want, e.g. "Eliminate software patents"
  • 1-2 paragraph explanation / justification (e.g. "SW pats harm cows, irritate my stomach, and molest children"
  • relevant statutory citation (in final version?)
  • optional 1-5 references for more information

Sections not included

Outside the Scope

  • Non-legislative policy
  • State or local policy
  • Other countries

Public spectrum

  • LPFM
  • DTV transition, esp. re: unlicensed spectrum
  • use of public spectrum (fairness doctrine, ownership regulation)

EULAs and contract law

  • enforcability (coercion)
  • market regulation ("bill of rights")

Municipal wi-fi

Government copyright

What we want: The federal government should not hold copyrights.

Why: Under copyright law, works of the US government are not covered by copyright. However, currently works of contractors for the government and works transferred to the government are excluded from that. We should close those loopholes, for the same reasons that works of the government are not copyrighted.

For more information:


FTAA / Bilateral FTAs

Free trade agreements are frequently used to export the worst parts of US copyright to other countries. While the FTAA seems to have been stopped for now, the United States is now turning to bilateral FTAs and other smaller arrangements, such as CAFTA. These trade agreements are not the place for exporting stupid copyright laws.

Software copyright

  • Should software, as a class of copyrighted works, be treated the same as other classes? (e.g. should software copyright last as long as musical copyright)
  • How can we improve the disclosure of source code once software enters the public domain?
    • The current requirements to register copyright on software do not require the full source code to be deposited:
      • There are strange rules over the amount of source required to deposit, rather than simply a full copy
      • The deposit is permitted to black out portions of the code that constitute "trade secrets"
    • The current system does not provide much incentive to register copyright, via both weak positive incentives and high costs
  • Should software, in addition to copyright, be allowed to claim trade secrets? (We've already set the policy that software should not be subject to patent.)