California wants to own copyrights on everything
California routinely sets the standard for progressives, adopting law after law that the rest of the country isn’t even considering. For example, California lawmakers adopted mandatory promotions of homosexuality in schools years before President Obama thought of it.
Now they’re working on it again: Proposing a plan that would let the state government and its branches copyright “all government works.” As in everything. Even video images of public meetings.
The warning is coming from officials with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Writer Ernesto Falcon explained that the California Assembly Committee on Judiciary has approved AB 2800 “to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights.”
He explained, “At its core, the bill grants state and local government the authority to create, hold, and exert copyrights, including materials created by the government.” The organization said it strongly opposes the plan. “Such a broad grant of copyright authority to state and local governments will chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain,” he said.
The EFF said the bill would “clarify” that works created by public entities are eligible for intellectual property restrictions. “This includes trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and copyrights. As things stand today, works created by California state and local governments (like reports, video, maps, and so on) aren’t subject to copyright except in a few special cases. That ensures that Californians who funded the creation of those works through their tax dollars can use those works freely.” But the EFF said, “The bill would change California from having one of the best policies on copyright of any U.S. state to among the worst. It authorizes public entities to register copyrights in their work. That means that state and local governments will have the power to seek statutory damages that can reach as high as $30,000 per infringement and potentially as life altering as $150,000 for willful conduct against people who use state-created materials.
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