Yesterday, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) submitted a statement on the role of copyright in innovation (PDF) to the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. The committee has been conducting a series of hearings on copyright issues as a way to educate members and prepare for reform. Today, the committee is holding a hearing on innovation and copyright. Next week there will be a hearing on technology and copyright.
In the statement, LCA discusses the diminishing role of copyright in incentivizing activity in one of the most important sources of innovation in the US economy: scholarly communications. LCA then discusses the economic importance of collaborative activities such as open source software and Wikipedia, which do not rely on the incentive provided by copyright. Finally, with respect to sectors that do appear to rely on copyright, LCA points out that many of the leading firms in those sectors are foreign owned. This suggests that the importance of copyright to maintaining US leadership in the global economy may be overstated.
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) consists of three major library associations—the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries. These three associations collectively represent over 300,000 information professionals and thousands of libraries of all kinds throughout the United States and Canada. Find us on the web at http://librarycopyrightalliance.org/.