Beware the march of the IP trolls at the House Committee on Small Business

I just got an announcement of a hearing to take place tomorrow before
the U.S. House Committee on Small Business. I don’t see many
representatives of small businesses on the panel, but rather
spokespeople for the most conservative forces in the area known as
intellectual property. Speakers come from the Computer &
Communications Industry Association, the Songwriters Guild of America,
the Business Software Alliance, the Association for Competitive
Technology, and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.

It would be eye-opening for the House Committee to listen to actual
innovators, garage inventors, and creative artists trying to work
around the copyright and patent traps in the current system. I do not
oppose copyright or patents and I know they sometimes produce rewards
for innovators. But the forces before the committee are no friends of
creative people. Most of them are well-known to readers of this website for their raids on defenseless shops and their attempts to
unfairly extend the control that the law has traditionally given them
through technical and legal machinations.

I admit I hadn’t heard of the Association for Competitive Technology
before, but the latest
article posted to their website
, which covers the Bilski case and is filled with smarmy slurs against people who
want to reform the patent, made me uninterested in looking further.

What new massacre of technological and cultural innovators is being
planned behind closed doors? Is it time to impose ACTA on the U.S.?
Sitting at a true incubator of innovation, O’Reilly’s Open Source convention, I
shudder awaiting the fallout from this controlled chain reaction.

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