Update: Ars Technica reports on December 6 that the GOP staffer behind the progressive memo has been fired.
The Republican Study Committee, whose members form the conservative wing of the House GOP caucus, released a report on Friday that took a remarkably progressive stance on copyright law. It argued that current copyright laws are “seen by many as a form of corporate welfare that hurts innovation and hurts the consumer” and argued for a wide-ranging overhaul of the system. But the triumph for tech activists—and DJs—was short lived. Over the weekend, the paper mysteriously vanished from the committee’s website, leaving a blank web page in its wake.
Brian Straessle, a spokesman for the Committee, told The Hill that the policy paper was pulled because it hadn’t been properly vetted. “Due to an oversight in our review process, [the paper] did not account for the full range of perspectives among our members… It was removed from the website to address that concern.”
But skeptics say that the GOP simply bowed to industry pressure.
“As soon as it was published, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) apparently went ballistic and hit the phones hard, demanding that the RSC take down the report,” wrote Mike Masnick of TechDirt.
A spokesman for RIAA, contacted by The Hill, denied that the organization asked the Committee to deep-six the paper. “We understand that a decision was made to do so to allow for the appropriate process that would have otherwise taken place before issuing,” he said.
You can still view a copy of the paper here. It’s worth reading solely for the part that says that copyright law is hurting the US DJ/Remix industry. “Many other countries have a robust culture of DJ’s and remixing, but the United States, quite perplexingly as the creator of a large portion of the world’s content, is far behind,” the paper notes.
Who knew that a stodgy GOP study committee could be so cool? Oh wait.