Businesses that rely on the fair use doctrine and open source technology recently testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. The hearing featured testimony from representatives of crowdfunding website Indiegogo Inc., nonprofit software developer Beneficent Technology Inc., manufacturer SparkFun Electronics Inc., television monitoring company SnapStream Media Inc., and cloud-computing company Rackspace Inc.
The hearing was part of Congress’s broad review of U.S. copyright laws with the goal of updating the country’s copyright protection scheme. In prior testimony, content creators from the music and film industries argued for stronger protections to combat infringement in the digital age, particularly online piracy.
In the latest hearing, the tech companies called on Congress to protect their business models as part of any future copyright reform. They stressed that innovation and intellectual property protection do not always have to go hand in hand. “Innovation doesn’t just come from control” of the intellectual property, Van Lindberg, Rackspace’s vice president of intellectual property, told the committee.
Jim Fruchterman, president and chief executive officer of Beneficent Technology, stressed that his company relies on fair use. “Intellectual property laws, at their best, can encourage technological advances, reward creativity, and bring benefits to society,” Fruchterman said. “To make this possible, we must keep the balance in copyright. We need to defend fair use as a laboratory for creativity.”
Finally, Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo co-founder and chief customer officer, suggested a new approach is needed in a digital world where everything can be easily copied and distributed. “Rather than try to fight it, because it’s like water rolling down a hill, try to embrace it,” Ringelmann said.
Source: Corporate Counsel
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