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Republican Staffer Khanna Axed Over Copyright Memo 506

Bob9113 writes "Ars Technica reports that Derek Khanna is getting axed over his memo detailing the conflict between laissez-faire-oriented free market ideals and the regulatory monopoly that is copyright. 'The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives, has told staffer Derek Khanna that he will be out of a job when Congress re-convenes in January. The incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was approached by several Republican members of Congress who were upset about a memo Khanna wrote advocating reform of copyright law. They asked that Khanna not be retained, and Scalise agreed to their request.'"
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Republican Staffer Khanna Axed Over Copyright Memo

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  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:20PM (#42206771)

    He had to know this would cost him his job.

    He could not have expected anything else.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:26PM (#42206879) Journal
    They've publicly disowned the brief and now it looks like they're cutting off the hand that wrote it ... but have they actually put forth a logical and rationale rebuttal that explains why Khanna was so wrong that his termination was necessary?

    If my employer came to me and said, "Pack it up, you don't have a job tomorrow." I'd be very interested in knowing why and being completely fine with my termination if they were just batshit insane in their reasoning. I'm sure I'm not the only one that suspects this came as an order from an industry lobbyist or at least in the form of "This is very interesting work by Khanna. On an unrelated note *cough* *cough* you might be hard pressed for campaign donations next election cycle."

    Oh, and I am absolutely relishing the goodwill and lip service paid to the Republicans in the initial Slashdot comments [].
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:31PM (#42206943) Homepage Journal

    If you're not echoing the echo chamber's talking points, you're not allowed to talk to other Republicans.

    That's it in a nutshell. And so we have Romney condemning 47% of the population because some idiot in the WSJ did the calculations, found 50% of the country weren't paying one type of tax, ignored the fact that most of these people weren't paying it because their employers were too cheap to pay them a decent wage, and called them "Lucky Duckies". And he, and others, refused to hear the counter arguments, and he ended up making a fool of himself.

    Indeed, we have the entire Republican party convinced that the way to win an election in a recession is to say "Yeah, we know you're feeling really insecure at the moment, so we're going to take your safety net away. Because anyone receiving UI is a moocher."

    We have Rove and others absolutely convinced they were going to win the election, because they refused to read the polls.

    There's been a lot of discussion after the 6th about the Republicans and why they lost. Sure, they lost because of their policies (well, duh.) But the question remains: how did the Republicans end up with such an absurd ticket, and how did they drag along 47% (interesting co-incidence) of the country to vote for them anyway?

    Answer: because they built an echo chamber. If it didn't fit the interests of those funding the Republicans, it wasn't said. People who said the Republicans might be going in the wrong direction were purged. Fox News, the WSJ, and some blogs and radio stations were pretty much seen by Republicans as the only media to read, and because those outlets insisted that anything that wasn't them was "liberal biased" they didn't see the truth, they didn't see what was going on out there, they totally missed the boat.

    This firing suggests they still haven't "gotten it", no matter what was said after November 6th.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:31PM (#42206951) Homepage Journal

    You younger Slashdotters may not believe this, but at one time we had conservatives (and Republicans) with principles.

    There are still; we're just not Republicans (or, more accurately, Republicans are no longer conservative).

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:44PM (#42207131)

    I'm surprised by the number of posts that think this is kidding, trolling or outrageous. Just like soldiers, civil staff like this have an obligation to, while they're on duty, keep their professional, official standpoints impartial. Personal political views don't mesh with civil service. As agreeable as his point might be, it's unprofessional to do it while representing his job, and it's not the least bit surprising or wrong that said job dismisses him for officially disagreeing with where they stand.

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ereuter ( 30764 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:51PM (#42207237)

    It wasn't just something he posted on his blog. His memo was approved by the committee. It just happened that the committee quickly retracted the memo after their true masters (their largest campaign contributors) expressed their disapproval.

  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:53PM (#42207275) Homepage

    Not that great? Ont the subject of being bought by Hollywood, The Dems are demonstrably worse. Hollywood, & all the IAAs give much more to the Dems & you'll never see a similar paper from an equivalent Dem study committee as they clearly know who their owners are.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:56PM (#42207323) Homepage Journal

    We have Rove and others absolutely convinced they were going to win the election, because they refused to read the polls.

    Exactly this. I read the polls in Summer 2011, saw that only one candidate in the Republican field could beat Obama in any polling match up, so I worked for that candidate (as a County Chair, even though I'm a registered Democrat) and we did OK (he got 2nd place in my State, in both parties' primaries).

    But he did not fit the mold of what the Party Bosses were looking for, so their media lapdogs did as they were instructed, and pretty soon it was clear that Romney was the anointed candidate (by March at the latest). Not once since then did I not say that Obama was guaranteed re-election.

    And it turns out in retrospect that all the quality polls were :dead on:. The Republicans could have had the Whitehouse if the fake "Republican values" really represented the ideas of the party (vs. being Corporatist puppets in reality).

    Funny thing is, my candidate would agree with this report almost in its entirety. If there's a silver lining it's that Khanna's generation will be in charge in 30 years.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:18PM (#42207649) Homepage

    I think he should stand by his memo and run for office.

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:46PM (#42208081)

    Your mom takes it in the pooper.

  • by Whorhay ( 1319089 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:50PM (#42208149)

    Maybe, maybe not. The last 10 years if I read that right would cost 10% of the total revenues thus far for the protected intellectual property. That's revenues, not profits. So it would be paying 10% of what that IP brought in over the course of the previous 36 years for another ten years. How many commercially owned properties are earning a 10% profit margin even at release?

  • Dear Congressman (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:07PM (#42208441) Journal

    Dear Mr Kline,
    I'm deeply disappointed in my GOP caucus at the dismissal of Derek Khanna for his writing of a paper discussing copyright reform.

    (ref [])

    I sincerely hope you weren't "one of the congressmen" Rep Scalise was approached by to remove Mr Khanna.

    Copyright reform is a desperately-needed, serious issue. "Shooting the messenger" signals that the GOP is NOT the party interested in fixing the situation. To less charitable eyes, it might even seem that these Representatives are just doing the bidding of their lobbyists from the MPAA and RIAA donors. The *only* silver lining here is that the Democrats are even MORE obviously in the pocket of media producers.

    I invite you and your peers to review the Copyright Clause of the US Constitution: (art I, sec 8, clause 8) "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    Note, copyright is to PROMOTE THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE - not to promote the ongoing rent-seeking by the umpteenth-descendant of an artist. Further, the clause specifically says "LIMITED TIMES" - constantly revising copyrights out to longer and longer durations is complying with neither the letter nor the intent of the US Constitution.

    So, I ask MY PARTY representatives in Congress - what's your point here?

    I would love to get a serious, considered response to this email, or would cheerfully like a chance to talk to you on the subject.

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomePgmr ( 2021234 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:08PM (#42208457) Homepage

    Too true.

    Though I'd say the last part is manageable. They're the ones that sound really crazy, and aren't apologetic about it. I get the impression those ones really believe their own crazy-talk.

    So your choices in politicians end up being "batshit crazy" or "shifty SOB liar".

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:44PM (#42208973)

    The position paper was vetted internally and approved along the orgs normal channels. Unless by "higher up leadership" you mean the lobbyists -- they were surprised, that's true.

    He worked an institution that was supposed to inform debate. He was canned because some debates are not allowed.

  • Re:He Should Be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @06:55PM (#42209921) Journal
    Yep, that's what US politicians do best, appeasing their sponsors, they will quite happily deny reality and make total fools of themselves because they don't give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks. Doesn't matter that they set up and ran the committee, nor is it relevant that this guy was just doing his job. There was a fuck up, (in that the opinion was released to the outside), someone needs to be sacrificed to appease the gods..err...sponsors.

    To me this sort of behavior tells me all I need to know about those particular politicians. They are the type of leaders who would routinely quell dissent by denying reality and silencing sympathizers. More than a few US politicians have the same default policy toward climate change, the ring leader of that well-established group is Senator Inhofe.
  • Re:No contradiction. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:19PM (#42210151) Homepage

    Meanwhile, the world is in fact getting better. In the East, millions have been lifted from abject poverty to livable poverty, Europe has experienced a period of peace never before seen in its history, in the US, minorities gained a lot of rights and recognition, the Drug War seems to be fading a little. Wages didn't really grew, but a lot of stuff - particularly consumer electronics, but not only - that was only dreamed of a few years ago is now on the reach of the average person, and I could go on.

    Yes, we're ruled by an oligarchy. So what else is new

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:26PM (#42211809)

    Except you missed something important. His memo wasn't released on his own initiative on his personal blog. It was approved by the committee that had him write it in the first place. He's being hung out to dry because he's low man on the totem pole, not because he went rogue. Far from being a loose cannon, he followed orders. And look what it got him. Not only is he being fired, but just because he's being fired, you instantly assumed he did something wrong.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal