Here are two items worth talking about, which come from such diametrically opposite points of view that I find myself wondering if they are even from the same planet. Each of them is interesting and worth a blog entry, but mostly I want to compare and contrast.
On the one side, which I will call the Copyfight side, Boingboing pointed me to The Internet Blueprint. This is a Public Knowledge-backed site for proposals for US Congressional bills that would actually improve the state and function of Internet regulation. I know, two days ago I was writing that we ought to focus on making the existing laws and regulations work properly first, and today I'm going to cheer on efforts to design new and better laws. Mea culpa I guess.
In my own defense I'll say that many of the proposals here are intended as legislative fixes to things that are broken with the current system. As I write this the top two listed proposals are "Curb Abuses of Copyright Takedowns" and "Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations." Each proposal on Internet Blueprint comes with a more or less plain-language explanation and proposed legislative language; for example the Curb Abuses proposal bill starts off with language that specifically targets Section 512(f) of Title 17. Congresscritters who sign on to proposals can be listed as "Champions" for that proposal.
Internet Blueprint is looking for people to submit proposals, to sponsor existing proposals, and to have people use the site as a way to communicate with their legislators who might be willing to sponsor an idea into legislation.
On the other side, which I will call the Looney Up the Cream Bun and Jam side, Michael Geist yesterday blogged an extensive list of just about everything insane related to Canda's C-11 bill. I mentioned a few weeks ago that it seemed the Cartel had learned nothing from the defeat of SOPA/PIPA and boy does this bill ever support that notion.
In C-11 the Cartel is asking for liability provisions to shackle social media sites, liability for Web search engines, liability for any site containing user-generated content, a tax on iPods (yes, really), copyright term extension ("To infinity and beyond!" they might have yelled except that's probably a trademarked phrase), and a removal of protection for parody and satire. Which probably means I can't make more snarky Toy Story or Monty Python references if they get their way.
As Geist points out, all these new demands are on top of the fact that C-11 contains everything bad that was in SOPA/PIPA, plus massive damages for non-commercial individual infringement. Post a video of your kid lip-synching to a pop-music tune and you too can be fined CA$ 20,000 (yes, really). When Nate Anderson wrote that he expected the Cartel to try taking smaller bites of the pie, he must not have been looking north of the border.
What this boils down to is that yes, there are ideas floating around for how to make things better. As I've argued before, trying to improve the legal regime around copyright is not the same as trying to remove copyright protections. What seems clear is that ideas for improvement are not going to come from the Cartel, at least not until they suffer a few more drubbings.