Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Two things

Regarding my previous thoughts about governments and expertise, the Matthew Yglesias blog points to a new study from the Urban Institute making the, one would think, unexceptionable suggestion that US public policy should be based on evidence.

Meanwhile, via the Open Rights Group, a letter from leading copyright scholars to Jose Manuel Barroso, pointing out that extending copyright terms retroactively is an obviously stupid policy, shows that this isn't how we do things in the EU, either. Money quote:

... we are certainly not so naive as to expect that the recommendations of an academic institution such as ours, however well researched and conceived they may be, will find their way into the Commissions policies in undiluted form. What we would expect, however is that our work, which was expressly commissioned by the policy unit in charge of these proposals, be given the appropriate consideration by the Commission and be duly referenced in its policy documents, in particular wherever the Commission's policy choices depart from our main recommendations.

So the DG Internal Market and Services Commission paid for a study, and is now trying to eliminate all trace of it because it concluded that copyright lobbyists' arguments were bunk. Sad, but entirely typical.


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