Thursday, September 17, 2009

Compulsory Licenses And Royalty Systems Are Congressional Matters

Peter Jaszi, director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, has published a blog post, headlined "Reframing Google Books," in response to Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters' Congressional testimony last week. See

Here is the text of my email to Jaszi:

Professor Jaszi:

Your otherwise well-articulated counterpoint to Register of Copyrights Peters' Congressional testimony uses sharp and misleading rhetoric on the subject of compulsory licenses. Everything you say about the advantages of such licenses is true -- but the implication that Peters and other Google Books settlement critics oppose them is not. In my opinion, you have skirted the heart of the matter, which is the questionable legality and appropriateness of promulgating compulsory licenses by private litigation rather than by public legislation. As the lead respondent in the current Supreme Court case Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, which involves similar issues, I have long advocated compulsory licenses -- reached by fully and fairly negotiated royalty systems -- as a solution to both making information accessible and allocating new-tech revenue streams.

Irvin Muchnick


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