Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess

(Mercatus Center, 2012)

Book Forum
December 6, 2012 12:00PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring the editor Jerry Brito, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Tom W. Bell, Professor, Chapman University School of Law; with comments by Mitch Glazier, Senior Executive Vice President, Recording Industry Association of America; moderated by Jim Harper, Director, Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to establish copyrights “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” This would require Congress to engage in a delicate balancing act, giving authors enough protection to motivate their creation of expressive works, but not so much that it hampers innovation and access to information. Copyright Unbalanced makes the case that Congress has not struck that balance well and that over the last half-century, Congress has routinely shifted the balance in only one direction — away from public access and freedom and toward greater and deeper privileges for organized special interests.

The book argues that conservatives and libertarians, who are naturally suspicious of big government, should be skeptical of an ever-expanding copyright system. And they should be skeptical of the recent trend toward criminal prosecution of even minor copyright infringements, of the growing use of civil asset forfeiture in copyright enforcement, and of attempts to regulate the Internet and electronics in the name of piracy eradication. Join us for an interesting and challenging discussion of copyright and its enforcement.