It might be crazy to expect a high government official to speak the truth. It might be crazy to believe that government policy will be something more than the handmaiden of the most powerful interests. It might be crazy to argue that we should preserve a tradition that has been part of our tradition for most of our history -- free culture. If this is crazy, then let there be more crazies. Soon.
But, like all metaphoric wars, the copyright wars are not actual conflicts of survival. Or at least, they are not conflicts for survival of a people or a society, even if they are wars of survival for certain businesses or, more accurately, business models. Thus we must keep i mind the other values or objectives that might also be affected by this war. We must make sure this war doesn't cost more than it is worth. We must be sure it is winnable, or winnable at a price we're willing to pay.
Creativity builds upon the public domain. The battle that we're fighting now is about whether the public domain will continue to be fed by creative works after their copyright expires. That has been our tradition but that tradition has been perverted in the last generation. We're trying to use the Constitution to reestablish what has always been taken for granted--that the public domain would grow each year with new creative work.
I think the reality is that copyright law has for a very long time been a tiny little part of American jurisprudence, far removed from traditional First Amendment jurisprudence, and that made sense before the Internet. Now there is an unavoidable link between First Amendment interests and the scope of copyright law. The legal system is recognizing for the first time the extraordinary expanse of copyright regulation and its regulation of ordinary free-speech activities.
If there were two candidates, a Democrat and a Republican, who each committed to the same kind of fundamental reform, then the election would be an election between the vice presidential candidates. It'd be just like the regular election, except it would be one step down.
I am big supporter of the idea of a global anti-corruption movement - but one that begins by recognizing that the architecture of corruption is different in different countries. The corruption we suffer is not the same as the corruption that debilitates Africa. But it is both corruption, and both need to be eliminated if the faith in democracy is not going to be destroyed.
When you think about a presidential candidate spending all of his or her time talking to that tiny, tiny fraction of us who have the capacity to fund political elections, it's obvious why the perspective of government is skewed relative to what most Americans care about.
While control is needed, and perfectly warranted, our bias should be clear up front: Monopolies are not justified by theory; they should be permitted only when justified by facts. If there is no solid basis for extending a certain monopoly protection, then we should not extend that protection.