Copyright Alliance Surveys Pres Candidates’ Commitment to Copyright Laws and Artists’ Rights

Questionnaire tries to assess how each would strengthen copyright laws to help protect American “IDEAS” and creativity works.

The Copyright Alliance is a 44-member-coalition that includes, among others, the RIAA, MPAA, Business Software Alliance, CBS, NBC, News Corp., NFL, MLB, NBA, Microsoft, Sony, Viacom, and Walt Disney, has submitted a questionnaire to all 17 of the candidates vying for the 2008 Presidential nomination of their respective parties.

It tries to impart a sense of dramatic urgency on the candidates by claiming that America’s dominance in the global economy is at stake. It’s apparently not our decision to outsource our textile or manufacturing industry to China, or the utter incompetence of auto manufacturers to compete with Japan’s fuel-efficiency standards, but instead our country’s resolve for having "copyright protection that allows creativity to be rewarded."

"Now more than ever, our economy is driven by ideas," the questionnaire reads. "As this shift to the Ideas Economy is cemented, protecting intellectual property will mean protecting the jobs, creations and inventions of today’s young people. The livelihood of the next generation, and America’s global competitiveness, will increasingly depend on the strong copyright protection that allows creativity to be rewarded."

It then dumbs down the questionnaire to to the acronym "IDEAS" for the candidates, an apparent attempt to try and link the contribution of copyright laws to "America’s IDEAS Economy."

The questions are as follows:


Copyright protection has ensured America’s creators have the opportunity to be fairly compensated for their works. How would you promote the progress of science and creativity, as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, by upholding and strengthening copyright law and preventing its diminishment?

Digital Marketplace

How do you feel the rights that have served our economy and spurred creativity in the physical world should apply in the digital world?


How would you protect the incentive to create by committing sufficient resources to support effective civil and criminal enforcement of copyright laws domestically and internationally?

American Competitiveness

How would you ensure inclusion of copyright protections in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements to protect creators and foster global development?


How would you protect the rights of creators to express themselves freely under the principles established in the First Amendment?

MPAA head Dan Glickman incredulously tries to claim that intellectual property rights is a "key issue for the 2008 presidential candidates" alongside issues like national security and healthcare.

"The U.S. economy today is changing quite rapidly," he writes. "While yesterday’s financial landscapes were determined largely by the sweat of our brows, America’s future economy will undoubtedly depend greatly on the value created by our minds. This is a country that has always valued knowledge, and leaders of tomorrow will be challenged as never before to guide our nation in safeguarding that value in our online, digital world."

For its part, RIAA head Mitch Bainwol says that the future of the American economy will be driven by our minds and not our hands, thus creating the need to protect what our minds create.

"It wasn’t that long ago that our American economy was driven by what we could create with our hands," Bainwol writes. "Now, of course, our future is predicated on what we create with our minds. In the evolving global economy, our economic advantage is rooted in our creativity. Intellectual property is the business of America."

I found his statements particularly humorous because the RIAA has never used its hands to create anything, instead living off the backs of artists and consumers it’s been ripping off for decades.

I also found it rather funny that for all the Copyright Alliances doom and gloom about job losses and profits, it has the gumption to post on its site that employment figures for copyright industries actually increased between 2004 and 2005. Combined with the movie industry having made record profits in 2006, does the United States really need stronger copyright protection laws?

Hopefully all the presidential candidates will focus on national security and healthcare instead.