As we have discussed in our class sessions, part of the problem with changing the current copyright regime is the massive power wielded by the entertainment industry. They have the consolidated money and lobbying powers that the consumer public simply doesn't have. One group, IPac, is hoping to change that. IPac is a nonpartisan group dedicated to preserving individual freedom through balanced intellectual property. They pledge to support candidates and elected officials who will fight for more balance in copyright law. Wired Magazine is running a story about IPac and their cause.
"Copyright is supposed to be a balance in the Constitution," said David Alpert, president of IPac, which launched about a month before the 2004 election. "The government should not be in the business of preventing technology changes just because some companies are afraid it might hurt their existing business models."
During the last election, IPac supported six candidates: Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Virginia), Zoe Lofgren (D-California), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Christopher Cox (R-California), John Doolittle (R-California) and newcomer Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson for the Senate.
So far the group has raised over $7700 to help in their cause. While just a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts being spent on the opposing side, every little bit helps. In addition to raising money, the Ipac website will feature a blog to keep people informed of the latest news and updates about Congress and its actions regarding copyright and patent issues.
Chris Cohen comments in his blog
"IP is an area of legislation where politicians can hand huge rewards to companies at the expense of the public without really getting any negative attention. People just don't know how important IP law is, don't realize they are actually the ones losing out, or don't care because IP doesn't make for a great above-the-fold story. As the copyright law has expanded so massively in the last decade, however, the public's interest in IP has really been piqued. Part of this phenomenon (both as a cause of it and because of it) has been the rise of so many IP blogs, the IP blogs have brought together many people who are particularly knowledgeable about IP issues and has provided them an outlet to provide that knowledge to the public at large (or at least the many techies and geeks who read their sites) and some of them are now looking like true journalists themselves with huge readership. The good 'ol internet is working it's magic, bringing people with common interests together to bring attention to something they care deeply about."