The Phaserl


California Wants To Own Copyrights On EVERYTHING

Imagine video of local council argument banned from YouTube over claim

by Bob Unruh, WND:

California routinely sets the standard for progressive legislation, adopting law after law that the rest of the country isn’t even considering. For example, California lawmakers adopted mandatory promotions of homosexuality in schools years before President Obama thought of it.

Now the state is at it again, proposing a bill that would let the state government and its branches copyright “all government works.”

As in everything. Even video images of public meetings.

The warning is coming from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

EFF legislative counsel Ernesto Falcon explained that the California Assembly Committee on Judiciary has approved AB 2800 “to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights.”

The state’s current model is similar to the federal government’s: With a few exceptions the audio, visual and written work of government employees is available to the public to use.

“The Death of Free Speech: How Our Broken National Dialogue Has Killed the Truth and Divided America” examines how the news media has created arbitrary, biased and illogical rules for determining what can and cannot be said in the public arena.

Ernesto said that at its core, the bill “grants state and local government the authority to create, hold, and exert copyrights, including materials created by the government.”

The organization said it strongly opposes the plan.

“Such a broad grant of copyright authority to state and local governments will chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain,” he said.

EFF said the bill would “clarify” that works created by public entities are eligible for intellectual property restrictions.

“This includes trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and copyrights. As things stand today, works created by California state and local governments (like reports, video, maps, and so on) aren’t subject to copyright except in a few special cases. That ensures that Californians who funded the creation of those works through their tax dollars can use those works freely.”

But EFF said the bill “would change California from having one of the best policies on copyright of any U.S. state to among the worst.”

“It authorizes public entities to register copyrights in their work. That means that state and local governments will have the power to seek statutory damages that can reach as high as $30,000 per infringement and potentially as life altering as $150,000 for willful conduct against people who use state-created materials,” Ernesto said.

“Therefore, if a citizen infringed on a state owned copyright by making a copy of a government publication, or reading that publication out loud in a public setting, or uploading it to the Internet, they could be liable for statutory damages. The harms felt by this bill’s approach are wide ranging because it would take very little to claim that a work is protected by copyright law.

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