May 12, 2004
I have never known (in brief conversations and reading numerous interviews) Fred von Lohmann to be overly or consistently optimistic. Not pessimistic, certainly, but not someone who I’d label an optimist. For that reason, his final line from his DMCRA hearing report gives me great hope:
“Today was a good day for fair use, for consumers, and for our nation’s tradition of balance in copyright law.”
Did the hearing go THAT well? I only saw the end of Panel 3, and it seemed like plenty of Congressmen had already decided that the DMCRA was evil. On the other hand, Robert Moore was really strong, concretizing everything the academics had said; he managed to play the part of ordinary average citizen while making excellent, clear arguments. And some people seemed sympathetic, but not all.
Fred’s satisfaction came not just from the hearing, but from something that happened during the lunch session:
“It was there that Rep. Joe Barton, Chairman of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-sponsor of H.R. 107, announced that he intends to see the bill marked up (a prerequisite to approval), passed by the subcommittee, passed by the full committee, passed by the full House of Representatives, and ultimately signed into law by the President.
Needless to say, Rep. Barton’s support isn’t enough to guarantee all of these results — but because he is committee chairman, his support means a great deal.”