Two days ago I wrote that the results of legal battles over church property for Anglicans breaking away from the Episcopal Church was mixed. As of today, it’s, well, less mixed. The Virginia Supreme court ruled against the breakaway Anglicans today, and their property will remain with the diocese. From the Washington Post:
On Thursday, the Supreme Court affirmed that the property was rightly given to the mainline denomination but said some of the nearly $3 million in church coffers belongs to the Falls Church Anglican congregation.
It was not immediately clear whether there would be an appeal by either side. If there is not, this would end a property dispute that drew global attention starting in 2006 when more than a dozen Virginia congregations voted to leave the Episcopal Church but keep the church properties, arguing that the denomination had “left” by becoming more liberal on homosexuality, the role of women and how God views non-Christians.
The rector of The Falls Church Anglican sent a message to his congregation:
We have received word from the Virginia Supreme Court that it has ruled in our appeal. The Court’s decision reverses the trial court’s ruling as to a part of our church’s funds, and sends the case back to the trial court for further proceedings regarding that point. But the Court has affirmed the trial court’s decision as to our church’s real property and much of the personal property, meaning that our lands, building, and much of our money have not been returned to us. …
Please join me in praising and thanking God for his faithfulness to us despite this result. Although this is not the outcome we had hoped for, our faith and our future do not depend on court decisions. The Lord works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and we had purposed to praise Him regardless of the outcome. It is difficult to face the prospect of losing things that are precious to us, but ultimately we do not place our hope in land, buildings, or money.
To clarify the money issue, the EDV had laid claim to donations made to the breakaway churches after they had separated.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon terror attack, the punditocracy seems dumbstruck. We have come to expect after these things some good indications about perpetrators: old style terrorists would advertise their actions, and in the major recent cases, — 9/11, London subway, Norway — the killers were discovered quickly. As of this writing we the general public don’t seem to know much.
I agree with Charles Krauthammer that this has an Al Qaeda feel to it, the urban setting, the quest for dramatic photographs. But we don’t know yet. A smaller probability seems to me a right wing domestic terrorist, perhaps on the Breivik model. Smaller still, Shi’ite (Iran sponsored) terror, or some some kind of false flag operation designed to implicate Iran and jumpstart an American-Iran war. But I’m no insider, I just read the blogs and the papers.
Eleven plus years ago, my wife called me from Wall Street to tell me she was okay. Okay about what I wondered. She explained. That afternoon I wrote a blog post for Justin Raimondo’s antiwar.com, saying that Mideast resentment of US policy towards Israel and Palestine was at an all time high, and unless we did something about it, we could expect a lot more of same. David Frum, in an essay attacking antiwar conservatives, wondered whether it was Robert Novak or I who “blamed” Israel first. I think it was pretty much a tie.
At the time, in several subsequent pieces, I would argue that the best way for the United States to protect its own freedoms would be to have as little as possible to do with the Mideast– to cut loose our allies, limit immigration. Trade with that part of the world, but otherwise have as little as possible to do with it. We would of course have to punish the folks who did this to us, but after that, bye bye.
No one took this advice. Instead, we (the United States) have since 9/11 killed, wounded, droned, imprisoned, tortured, made refugees of millions of Muslims. We have fought the endless war, the forever war. Electing Obama barely changed the situation. Whether this has made us any more secure is highly doubtful, but it surely has created more enemies than friends.
To be continued, obviously, when we know more about who perpetrated the Boston atrocity.
Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic conceded Mark Signorelli’s right to be discontent with the archetypical Odysseyian narrative of the Return Home, a discontent which Signorelli expressed in an essay titled “Going Home Again? Not Likely“:
If I am correct, it seems there is a certain kind of arch-typical narrative that has become quite popular here at FPR, and in some sense, emblematic of its defense of place and home. It is the “Going Home” story, the story of someone rejecting the allures of wealth and status in the big-city, and returning to the fixed traditions of his or her hometown. While such narratives are of great interest, in and of themselves, and while they clearly emerge from the sincere experiences of their authors, I find myself entirely unable to sympathize with them. I suspect, moreover, that, taken together, such narratives tend to distort more about the reality of twenty-first century America than they make clear.
But Peters missed the second part of Signorelli’s remarks, which was a preference for the archetype of Aeneas, a man who, his home having been destroyed, wanders as an exile in search of a place to build a new one. Peters briefly advised persons in Signorelli’s predicament to be as Booker T. Washington and “cast down your buckets where you are,” before defending his own dutiful return to a home still worth caring for.
That advice doesn’t square at all with the story of Aeneas, who spent many years wandering through the Mediterranean: he didn’t settle in the first place he landed, and his first effort to build a city in Crete was rebuked by Apollo. In Carthage, where he could have happily cast down his rusty bucket, his piety compelled him away.
Actually there’s more than one kind of homelessness, and Signorelli touched on only one of them. His sort is the peculiar emptiness engendered by the spirit of modernism, and from which an educated man learns to take some refuge in the wisdom of the classics. “On the street where I grew up,” Signorelli writes, “isolation was the norm. It was the kind of place where people came home from work, turned on the television, and had done with the outside world. The kind of place where next-door neighbors did not know one another’s name.” In response, he says, “one of the ruling impulses in my life since early adulthood has been a desire to get as far away from my hometown as I can.”
There’s another kind of homelessness, never unknown, but now in the United States almost as common as the modern ennui, and that is the problem of having many homes. There are grown men and women raised in homes with parents of different faiths, parents of different races, different nationalities, adults who spent their childhood moving from place to place every four years, crossing state lines and national boundaries. If their parents divorced and remarried they have stepfathers and mothers, each with another new history. These adults marry into again new cultures. Not all of these accumulated homes are worth living in. Some are like Signorelli’s hometown. But others are enduring expressions of community. It isn’t apparent by what rule couples should decide where to settle. They fit neither the departure narrative nor the return narrative.
And I begin with couples as an ethical unit, but marriage itself is a conceptual problem, a fuel to the multicultural fire. Each difference between a married couple increases the difficulty in communication and understanding, increases the basic tension between the insistent demands of their backgrounds. How do you raise your children among their grandparents when your in-laws are in Des Moines and your parents are in Miami? What if your in-laws live in Milan, or New Delhi? How do you raise your children faithfully when you, a Lutheran, can’t receive the Eucharist of your Roman Catholic wife?
I’m not discussing multiculturalism (or better, cultural pluralism), where communities with radically different cultures lead separate existences from neighborhood to neighborhood, and for which the problem is protecting the heritage of local and national history and law from the imported doctrines of an alien people who demand provision for their robust dissimilarity. I’m discussing the moral duties of the people who live in the borders between those communities. Those borders grow more complex year on year, strange combinations of tribal loyalties overlap, and the population living in them grows larger and larger.
In the absence of a series of friendly Apollonian soothsayers, it takes people a long time to work out how to solve the riddles of their moral duties. There’s no doubt humans have a common desire for home: some people learn to locate it in their family, some in a landscape, some in a club, some in a profession with a few friends. The fullest and most beautiful expression of home is larger than any one of these things, but for a child of multiculturalism the search for that home is difficult and can cause massive unhappiness.
There is a natural institution which can harbor and endure this sort of cultural anarchy, even putting it to good use: the city. Intercollegiate Review‘s Danielle Charette observed that “conservatives often use “cities” as a stand in for what is wrong in America: poverty, family breakdown, and crony capitalism. It’s true that those issues tend to concentrate more in urban zip codes. But it’s also true that cities are a magnetic testament to the human desire to congregate and experiment.” That embrace of experiment offers an endless supply of new beginnings, a place where strange ideas are constantly crashing into one-another, a place to build a half-way home while you sift through your soul to find the seeds of a more enduring piety.
Count me with Rod, Conor Friedersdorf, and many, many others in thinking the lack of media coverage of Kermit Gosnell’s charnel house is pretty damning. Mollie Zeigler Hemingway has begun her own inquisition of sorts, calling up journalists and making them explain their lack of coverage, for which an Atlantic senior editor accused her of fomenting anti-Semitism.
But as some people are finally starting to point out today, Dave Weigel among others, many of the details from this case have been known since at least January 2011, when the indictment came down and the grand jury report was released. There is a documentary too which I’ve embedded above, which was posted to YouTube in January. It’s pretty rough to watch; you’ve been warned.
Back in 2011, Will Saletan wrote, in an essay critiquing the pro-choice absolutist view that abortions should be legal without regard to the age of the fetus:
There’s no moral difference between eight, 18, and 28 weeks. No one has the right to judge another person’s abortion decision, regardless of her stage of pregnancy. Each woman is entitled to decide not only whether to have an abortion, but how long she can wait to make that choice.
It’s one thing to preach these ideas in the lefty blogosphere. It’s quite another to see them in practice. That’s where Kermit Gosnell, the doctor at the center of the Philadelphia scandal, comes in. According to the newly released grand jury report, Gosnell accepted abortion patients without regard to gestational age. “Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere—because they were too pregnant,” the report explains. … You can argue that what Gosnell did wasn’t conventional abortion—he routinely delivered the babies before slitting their necks—but the 33 proposed charges involving the Abortion Control Act have nothing to do with that. Those charges pertain strictly to a time limit: performing abortions beyond 24 weeks. Should Gosnell be prosecuted for violating that limit? Is it OK to outlaw abortions at 28, 30, or 32 weeks? Or is drawing such a line an unacceptable breach of women’s autonomy?
He was criticized over at Feministing for his “anti-choice bullshit”:
Perhaps most importantly, let’s not forget why the likely majority these women went to a potentially criminal practice like Kermit Gosnell’s: because of the anti-choice measures that limit women’s access to safe and affordable (and, in this case, legal) abortion care.
The same day Saletan’s article came out, The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg had one of her own arguing basically the same thing, and that Gosnell operated a “rogue clinic”:
Gosnell’s crimes only underline the need for all women to have access to affordable and genuinely safe providers. His patients subjected themselves to terrible abuses because that’s what women will do when they’re desperate and they don’t see other options. … Gosnell was able to do what he did because the women who came to him had fallen through the cracks of our damaged medical system.
There were others back then too. Today, there are lots of people saying more or less the same thing. Not a single one of them have even attempted to reconcile that the failure to keep tabs on Gosnell’s clinic was apparently due to a political decision in 1993 not to inspect it. From the grand jury report:
After 1993, even that pro forma effort [to inspect Gosnell's clinic and report its failings] came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.
In other words, it strongly suggests the absolutist pro-choice view that any regulation of abortion constitutes an infringement on reproductive rights led to the clinic not being overseen properly. All of these people had access to the grand jury report, even back in 2011. To ignore that and then make the case for why abortions should be more widespread and less regulated is incredibly dishonest.
This month Random House will publish a collection of Willa Cather’s letters, reports the NYT. Cather wished that her novels would be read and interpreted on their merits alone, and to that end, and for the simple sake of privacy, ruthlessly protected her personal material from publication. She fortified her position in her will, banning excerpts and even simple quotations from print. Her biographers have had to make do with paraphrase ever since, until now. The NYT reports,
Ms. Stout and Mr. Jewell [the scholar editors], in their preface, acknowledge that publication of the letters “flagrantly” violates Cather’s wishes, expressed in a will that partially expired in 2011 with the death of her nephew and second executor, Charles Cather. But publication, they argue, advances the deeper purpose of Cather’s restrictions: cementing her status as a major literary artist.
The death of the last living executor of her will, Charles Cather her nephew in 2011, removed the last mechanism she had built into the will to enforce her wishes. The Cather Trust, to whom the copyright belonged, quickly dropped the prohibition on publication, as well as a ban on film adaptation. The proceeds will go back to the Trust and the Willa Cather Foundation, which promotes Cather’s life and work.
Since under the terms of US copyright law, the letters had been scheduled to revert to the public domain in 2017 anyway (70 years after her death in 1947), it’s possible the Trust is trying to manage the process before it gets out of their hands completely.
The passing of Charles Cather illustrates the crucial role of family members and close friends in protecting a person’s interests after their death. Ms. Stout writes in her preface to the anthology that Cather “no longer belongs entirely to herself…She belongs to everyone.” Public-spirited admirers don’t care as much as family about a person’s desires., and they will justify actions that would have outraged the person they act in trust of. Will we grieve at her loss, reading her published letters? Probably not: the whole thing has passed into history.
The same thing holds true of the fate of the Barnes Foundation, recently relocated to Philadelphia, which was precisely the last thing that Barnes ever wanted for his collection. In his case, his wish that his paintings never be removed from the walls of his estate was adhered to perfectly until 1988, when Violette de Mazia, his trusted pupil, died (Barnes had no children). Just five years later, a collection of the best paintings were sent on a world tour. Will we feel a pang of conscience, walking through the reconstructed modernist building? Probably not. Time has swallowed up Barnes’ passion, and we are left with a tidy residue.
The Supreme Court heard oral argument today on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which exclusively recognized marriages between a man and a woman in the state constitution. The consensus from Twitter and the networks seems to be that the court is unlikely to have five votes and probably won’t make a strong ruling either way. From SCOTUSblog:
The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the Court probably will not have the five votes necessary to get to any result at all, and almost certainly will not have five votes to decide the merits of whether Proposition 8 is constitutional. …
The Justices seem divided on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on ideological lines, four to four – i.e., all the members other than Justice Kennedy. For the more liberal members of the Court, there was no clarity on how broadly they would rule. But Justice Kennedy seemed very unlikely to provide either side with the fifth vote needed to prevail. He was deeply concerned with the wisdom of acting now when in his view the social science of the effects of same-sex marriage is uncertain because it is so new. He also noted the doubts about the petitioners’ standing. So his suggestion was that the case should be dismissed.
Reason has a debate between Ilya Shapiro and Jonathan Adler over the federalist aspects of the ruling. Shapiro’s normally a big fan of federalism, but an overreaching federal government is not what’s at issue here:
… if it’s unconstitutional for California to discriminate based on sexual orientation when doling out marriage licenses, then a ruling against Prop 8 would simply vindicate individual constitutional rights. If, however, there’s a compelling reason for making the distinction—because, say, it promotes child-rearing—then California can keep doing what it’s doing. Either way, California’s power to regulate marriage isn’t implicated—just like its power over criminal law wasn’t in doubt in 2011 when the Court found the state’s ban on violent videogames to violate the First Amendment.
In sum, those who argue that federal courts have no business policing state marriage laws are forgetting that the Civil War Amendments, particularly the 14th, fundamentally changed—perfected—our federalism. Since 1868, when states violate individual rights, they have to answer to federal courts.
The arguments for holding Proposition 8 unconstitutional do not seek to vindicate a “right to marry” so much as they seek to alter the definition of what constitutes a marriage in the first place. Marriage has been understood to constitute the union of one man and one woman through most of human history. Indeed, this definition long predates the Constitution. Some cultures have recognized polygamous marriage, but sexual difference has been a core component of what constitutes a marriage in nearly every case.
As a consequence, there are plenty of judicially cognizable reasons why the people of a state may prefer not to define a marriage as anything other than the union of one man and one woman. Such a union is the only one capable of naturally producing offspring within the bounds of marriage. This is why the traditional definition of marriage has persevered throughout most of human history throughout most of the world. Many of us find this to be an unpersuasive justification for denying state recognition of same-sex couples, but this is not a sufficient basis to render such policies unconstitutional. Federalism requires that state governments are allowed to adopt unsound policies.
Today’s hearing is the first of two; tomorrow the court will consider the Defense of Marriage Act’s constitutionality.
Under the progressive Tory regime, the best that can be offered the middle class is an outbound ticket to less-Tory-dominated, albeit often less culturally “enlightened” places, such as Texas, the Southeast or Utah. There, manufacturing, energy and agricultural industries still anchor much of the economy. Despite their expressions of concern for the lower orders, gentry progressives don’t see much hope for the recovery of blue-collar manufacturing or construction jobs, at least not in their bailiwicks. Instead they suggest that the hoi polloi seek their future in what the British used to call “service,” that is, as caregivers, haircutters, dog walkers, waiters and toenail painters for their more-highly educated betters. …
“We have created a regulatory framework that is reducing employment prospects in the very sectors that huge shares of our population need if they are to reach the middle class,” notes economist John Husing. A onetime Democratic activist, Husing laments how, in progressive California, green energy policies have driven up electricity costs to twice as high as those in competitor states, such as Utah, Texas and Washington, and considerably above those of neighboring Arizona and Nevada. These and other regulatory policies, he suggests, are largely responsible for the Golden State missing out on the country’s manufacturing rebound, losing jobs, while others, not only Texas but also in the Great Lakes, have expanded jobs in this sector.
Similarly, Draconian land-use regulations have not only kept housing prices, particularly on the coasts, unnecessarily high, but slowed a potential rebound in the construction sector, traditionally a source of higher-wage employment for less-than-highly educated workers. So, while Google workers are pampered and celebrated by the progressive regime, California suffers high unemployment and a continued exodus of working-class and middle-class families.
The argument is a bit complicated and I recommend reading the whole thing. As far as I know he’s the first to address issues of real property in relation to Obama’s Tory vision. And there’s something appealing about the way he portrays the Democratic Party’s divide between Oakland’s serfs and the landed gentry of Palo Alto.
(h/t The Transom)
The City Council of Alexandria, VA reaffirmed its plan last Saturday to develop the waterfront on the west bank of the Potomac. The vote reapproved zoning and density changes, and in addition removed language in the city’s zoning ordinance that formerly allowed residents who would be most affected by the zoning changes to force a supermajority vote of 6-1 to have them approved.
The complex three-year legal fight over the plan between the council and a large number of Old Town residents has ranged across several city bureaus, private clubs and businesses, in council and mayoral elections, and up to the Supreme Court of Virginia. At stake is the nature of Old Town, and by extension, the city—whether it will be primarily a neighborhood enjoyed by its residents, or a destination exhibited to tourists as a haven of pleasure and nostalgia. Two new hotels are to be allowed, the profits distributed between the developers and the city treasury, with public land along the waterfront to be improved as compensation to the locals.
The lynchpin of the original design is a pier jutting out from a new public park, situated on what is currently the parking lot of the Old Dominion Boat Club, in existence since 1880. The Alexandria Planning Director said of it, “”The King Street pier is the soul of the plan.” The ODBC holds some of the best real-estate in the entire country, on the Potomac at the foot of King Street, the main artery of the town’s commerce and administration. It’s a bastion of leisure and friendship for the long-time residents of the town, many of whom were born in the town of parents who made it prosperous in the 1950s. Though negotiations between the city and ODBC to sell the ratty-looking parking lot broke down in 2010, the city has not given up the hope of acquiring the land. It has pressed on the Boat Club’s domain by forcibly sharing its old easement right-of-way in an alley parallel to King Street with a new organic restaurant Virtue Feed & Grain, and defending its decision against the club’s appeal in a costly court case. It remains unclear whether the city will try to take the parking lot under eminent domain law, and also unclear whether the amendment to the Virginia State constitution approved in the November elections, heavily restricting eminent domain action, is sufficient to protect the parking lot.
Roger Scruton was able to say in 2009 that Old Town Alexandria, along with Georgetown, exhibits a benign adaptation between architectural beauty and human needs which has survived decades of a national culture of modernist urban planning. Clearly the waterfront redevelopment won’t bulldoze the narrow streets, elaborate Georgian brickwork, and jumbled mix of homes and businesses which support a network of friendships and local loyalties. Indeed, there is a good argument for opening up the waterfront to more local residents. Large portions of it are ugly and disused. It’s still possible that the details of the development could be integrated in a wholesome manner with the rest of the town’s aesthetic character.
But that will take personal discipline and restraint from its council members, where formerly that restraint was imposed by the law. Most worrisome from Saturday was the vote to sweep away the power of residents to petition for changes in zoning regulations. The council takes the view that it isn’t a change but a clarification of an earlier ambiguity: The right of petition, it holds, is against map changes only, not the wording of regulations.
Speaking from personal experience, since I work part-time as a barista at the Grape & Bean, a wine and coffee bar in Old Town, those who oppose the redevelopment are most likely to voice their thoughts in public, and most likely, it seems, to possess the keen emotions of civic piety. Those in favor have not voiced their opinions, if they have them, except to vote overwhelmingly for those council members who ran under the Democratic Party ticket. All six took the six open council seats, defeating the three Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian who ran against them, two of whom were incumbents, and five of whom opposed the redevelopment as planned. There is no doubt the election was affected by the decision of the council, taken in 2009, to move the traditional local election date from May to November to coincide with the general election, and to take advantage of the turnout of voters who have no opinion on and little stake in the results of local politics. The argument over the redevelopment isn’t cleanly split by party—the one dissenting vote on the recent council vote comes from Democrat Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg, who explicitly ran against the plan. But none of the other members were interested in her compromise offer to reduce the number of hotels planned from two to one.
Beautiful civic life takes decades and centuries to create, and a few years to destroy. The sobering lesson in this story is that even the most determined conservators, if in a democratic constitutional order remain a small minority of the population, are unable to prevent the degradation of civic beauty.
James Poulos makes an important argument in Vice, that political elites have become so obsessed with economic growth that “Not only does our anxiety push us to become the kind of people least capable of launching our own personal growth plans, it encourages us to ignore the growing number of urgent issues that have nothing to do with the size of our per-capita GDP.”
To be sure, economic growth is important, and provides many benefits, including but not limited to maintaining domestic tranquility, securing our social order, improving the material living standards of almost all Americans (even if at divergent rates) and relieving us of many anxieties and burdens. Poulos doesn’t dispute the benefits of economic growth, but rather points out how an obsession with it can undermine and spoil the very things we are or should be seeking. You should read the full piece here.
There is a complementary obsession to the one he points out, though, one which interacts with the growth obsession to undermine many of the most important discussions and considerations we should be undertaking. It is the competitiveness obsession. In fact, if there is any word that runs close to “growth” as a dominant policy topic, it is its cousin “competitiveness.” Our nation needs to be more competitive with China and India on a global scale of economies and war. Our companies must be more competitive to create jobs. Our workers must be more competitive, to keep those jobs. Our schools must be more competitive in math and science, and our children must be more competitive, because haven’t you seen how long the Chinese lock their kids up in schools? When not competing with the Chinese, our kids need to compete with their peers to (for the most egregious) get into the most competitive kindergartens and grade schools that will feed them into the most competitive colleges, and graduate programs, so that they can get the most competitive internships and entry level positions at the most competitive firms. Along the way hopefully they will meet an equally competitive spouse, so that their children can start off with a competitive genome. Because you never want to let your child “fall behind,” least of all in the womb. How would they ever catch up from that? They would be doomed, or at the least screwed.
To which Poulos has a welcome reminder: “None of us are doomed. Nobody is screwed. Sure, your life might take some weird, sometimes even painful turns. You, like millions upon millions of us since the dawn of man, might experience heartache, disappointment, and tragedy.”
But the most important things in life, the most vital and electric things that enrich the human experience into something greater than anything the most competitive of Darwin’s finches could hope for, are not to be found in competition. Love and companionship, in spite of and through hardship, will not be acquired through a sperm bank sorted by SAT score. The terror and the tenderness of parental love will not be enhanced by private schools charging Ivy-League tuition. The ecstasy and the groundedness of religious devotion cannot be obtained at the expense of another. In fact, each of these can only be obtained by looking beyond the personal immediacy of competition to recognizing ourselves as in relationship, embedded in community.
It is just this community that the competitiveness cult threatens, by driving us to instrumentalize ourselves and our lives. This is perhaps made most plain in the absurdity of the conventional college admissions process, where the early education in civil society and self governance that clubs of interest and service once provided high schoolers has been transformed by their status as mandatory resumé fodder. The building of relationships can turn into “networking,” particularly in DC, where business cards are often accompanied by sheepish-to-shameful grins testifying to the mixed motives of “staying in touch.” There are reasons for this, and people feel a genuine anxiety about keeping their head above water, in many ways driven by the increasing instability of our modern times. That does not diminish, but rather it enhances, the value of Poulos’ imperative: “Let go of our sense of dependence on plans.” What we can compete for comprises only a small portion of our human goods.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hold a hearing on Wednesday consisting of a lone witness; the Register of Copyrights, head of the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress. In testimony released today, Register Maria Pallente says, ”I think it is time for Congress to think about the next great copyright act, which will need to be more forward thinking and flexible than before.”
A source told Billboard the hearing is “part of a coordinated, slow march” by House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte and Register Maria Pallante toward reforming copyright.
On its face, the statement is significant for its boldness and its blunt call for an update to the DMCA. But Mike Masnick at Techdirt is skeptical:
In the end, she is thinking big, but there’s a lot to worry about in here, along with a few good things. Perhaps of even greater concern than Pallante’s thoughts, is that, for the time being any process in Congress will be lead by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. While Goodlatte is slightly better than Lamar Smith — and, as he constantly reminds people in Silicon Valley, his son works at Facebook, Goodlatte has a long history of siding with the maximalists, and having little grasp of the importance of the public benefit in copyright.
Also telling is that nowhere in the entire speech did she mention anything about SOPA. Pallante was an unabashed supporter of SOPA, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill back in 2011. The fact that the public rose up against it highlights how these issues have become a significant concern to the public, and one would hope that it would lead Pallante to make clear that any such discussion needs to take that into account.
“The Register’s Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law” by Maria Pallante