Yesterday, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) submitted astatement on the role of copyright in innovation (PDF) to the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. The committee has been conducting a series of hearings on copyright issues as a way to educate members and prepare for reform. Today, the committee is holding a hearing on innovation and copyright. Next week there will be a hearing on technology and copyright.
In the statement, LCA discusses the diminishing role of copyright in incentivizing activity in one of the most important sources of innovation in the US economy: scholarly communications. LCA then discusses the economic importance of collaborative activities such as open source software and Wikipedia, which do not rely on the incentive provided by copyright. Finally, with respect to sectors that do appear to rely on copyright, LCA points out that many of the leading firms in those sectors are foreign owned. This suggests that the importance of copyright to maintaining US leadership in the global economy may be overstated.