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Interviews: Ask Derek Khanna About Government Regulations and Technology 72

Republican staffer Derek Khanna was thrust into the spotlight in December for being fired after submitting a controversial brief titled: Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. In the brief Khanna said: "Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets," a view not very popular with Republicans in the House of Representatives. Since the firing, Khanna has continued to speak out on the need for copyright reform and most recently on the law against unlocking cellphones. Derek has graciously agreed to take some time to answer your questions about copyright reform and IP law. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interviews: Ask Derek Khanna About Government Regulations and Technology

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  • I believe your paper would have been unpopular on both sides of the isle but did the Republican knee jerk reaction to it negatively affect your affinity with the Republican party and your efforts to further their cause? Setting aside your differences on Copyright Law with that party, are you still Republican?
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Thursday February 14, 2013 @11:48AM (#42896653) Journal
    From your interview with Tim Lee:

    But the "level of backlash it received from the content industry" took him by surprise.

    Really? This took you by surprise? If not exactly what occurred, what exactly did you expect to happen? The content industry was just supposed to take it in stride and think that maybe copyright law has moved too far in their favor? I'm not in politics (thank god) and I'm not in the copyright business (praise xenu) but it was as lucid to me as an unmuddied pond that your job was forfeit upon publishing this. I mean, what exactly do you think Hollywood and the RIAA are paying you for if not to keep these kinds of discussions off the table and pass some Mickey Mouse Act 2.0 through the next Sonny Bono puppet?

  • Now What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Thursday February 14, 2013 @11:49AM (#42896689) Journal
    You told other staffers when you left:

    Don't be discouraged by the potential consequences. You work for the American people. It's your job, your obligation to be challenging existing paradigms and put forward novel solutions to existing problems.

    So now what? What's your plan? I mean, you can tell them not to be discouraged but that's a pretty hefty weight to put on your own shoulders. Anyone who gets a check from the content industry (and I think that's everyone in DC) is going to blacklist you. Do you see yourself taking a Ralph Nader-like approach to politics? How do you even get your foot back in the door? You do realize that if you don't return or rise to another kind of constituent-focused power that your above encouragement will fall upon deaf ears as you will become the example of what happens to an outspoken staffer?

  • Hope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @11:58AM (#42896809) Journal

    How do we Americans manage to retain any hope for any sort of positive change when people who are paid to identify beneficial reforms get fired for upsetting special interests? Doesn't your case prove that it's impossible to effect reform through the system? Do you belive that Democracy in America still exists, and if so, why?

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman