The House and Senate easily passed, and President Bush signed, the PRO IP Act. Some commentators have been critical of the Act (Public Knowledge, TechCrunch, Declan McCullagh) – but to no avail. However, IP profs (at least, those who blog) have been pretty quiet about the Act. I can conceive of at least three possible reasons for this:
- Public choice problem – IP profs know they just aren’t that influential with Congress, compared to industries (such as movies and music) with a significant economic stake. Tilting at windmills isn’t a good use of time.
- No big deal – the Act doesn’t make enough substantive changes to IP law (focusing mostly on counterfeit trademarks and setting up a new IP bureaucracy in the federal government) to rally profs to the barricades. It’s not much of a windmill, anyway.
- Advancing the ball – the Act is actually a good idea. Windmills can be useful things.
I’d be interested to know what you think.
Update (Oct. 15, 1:30PM): Susan Scafidi has an insightful post at Concurring Opinions. My only quibble: do we want an IP czar generally? Larry Lessig would be terrific, but administrations come and go; the structure remains. (Particularly given the bipartisan consensus on this bill.)