Skip to main content

Copyright report that upset Hollywood got the author fired

Derek Khanna - Hollywood enemy

Don’t piss off Hollywood: That’s the hard lesson learned by Derek Khanna, the 24-year-old staffer of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) who wrote a paper criticizing the current state of copyright policy in the U.S. According to the Washington Examiner, Khanna was recently told that he will no longer have a job with the RSC when Congress returns to session at the beginning of next year.

The paper, entitled “Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it,” reportedly caused quite the ruckus in both Los Angeles and Washington due to its controversial stance on copyright reform. Among Khanna’s so-called fixes were tight restrictions on the amount of monetary damages copyright holders could collect from instances of infringement, expansion of fair use, the punishment of false copyright claims, and narrow limits on the terms of copyrights.

Khanna pull no punches in his critique of current copyright law, calling it “corporate welfare that hurts innovation and hurts the consumer.”

While Khanna’s ideas sent copyright reformists into a state of bliss, the top brass of the RSC were far from happy. Less than 24 hours after the paper’s publication, the RSC pull the paper from its website. And RSC Executive Director Paul S. Teller sent out an email saying that Khanna’s report ” was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard.”

The RSC itself is a caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. As the Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Cartney points out, a good many Republican Members of the House have deep ties with the Hollywood entertainment industry. Former Republican House Judiciary Committee staffer Mitch Glazier is now Senior Executive Vice President of the RIAA. And Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the man behind the hotly contested Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which had the full blessing from groups like the RIAA and MPAA. But it was reportedly Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) – a major recipient of political contributions from the music industry – who put the gun to Khanna’s RSC career.

We reached out to Khanna for comment, but he did not immediately respond. He did, however, refuse to comment on the matter to Ars Technica. Blackburn has also refused requests for comment.

See Khanna’s full report below:

RSC policy brief: Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It

Editors' Recommendations