Many people just assume that when a politician running for office speaks, they're saying whatever will appeal to that audience, and that is why you have to look closely at their track record of casting actual votes (or in the case of judges, their actual case history).
As CNET News reported earlier this week (Obama picks RIAA's favorite lawyer for a top Justice post, 1/6/09), Obama's choice for a top position in the US Justice Department is a very pro-IP lawyer, having served as counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In this case, with an initial read of the tea leaves, a signal is being sent that Larry Lessig's "free culture" efforts - that is, a lessening of the strength of copyright laws and punishments, have been dealt a hard blow. Lessig had endorsed Obama, and Google - seen as one of the big proponents of Orphan Works by many - endorsed Obama as well (in the form of their CEO endorsing Obama.) That, however, was when Obama was a candidate. Now, as the President-Elect he is taking a more pro-IP stance.
The CNET piece goes into some great deal about what we can expect from the Obama Administration, and it's well worth a read. As we evolve into the Era of Obama, it seems that the rights of creatives, and other intellectual property rights-holders will gain some traction and re-establish the respect that it once had. We can see this with the sucess of Apple's iTunes store, places like Hulu.com, NetFlix and others for video, bodes well for a proper re-alignment of protections or copyright holders and their assets.
Don't get me wrong - while it looks like the tide is ever-so-slightly pulling back, it could be, as with India's Tsunami, this is the calm before the storm.
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