A 2010 report from the Copyright Principles Project, made up of copyright experts, seemed to focus more on the needs of users than to the "enforcement needs of authors and other copyright owners," said Jon Baumgarten, a former general counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office.
Much of the current discussion about copyright reform seems to head in the same direction, Baumgarten added. "The copyright debates today and search for changes are too often driven by those enthused by the promise of new technology ... that anything standing in the way is to be simply tossed aside in favor of permitting it to happen," he said.
Some subcommittee members said they were concerned that copyright protections could get watered down with a rewrite of the law.
"It seems in the past few years there has been a shift in the public discourse about copyright away from the people who actually devote their talent to create works for the benefit of society, and those who invest in them, toward the users of works and the financial interests of those companies eager to commercially exploit them," said Representative Mel Watt, a North Carolina Democrat. "Free speech does not mean free stuff."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.