James Boyle: “A Czar for the Digital Peasants” (H.R. 4279)
June 25, 2008
James Boyle has an excellent editorial in the Financial Times today criticizing the efforts of members of the U.S. Congress to create an “IP Czar” through the so-called “PRO-IP” Act.
The bill, sponsored by representative John Conyers (D-MI) passed the house and is awaiting the creation of companion legislation in the senate. Sentors Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have expressed interest.
Here’s my favorite quote from Boyle:
We create a czar when we think that something is so important that other values must be subordinated to it, other goals ignored, power centralised, restraints discarded.The great thing about czars is that they can act alone, maximizing a single set of values, without worrying about the troubling demands of bureaucracy but also sometimes without worrying about the demands of the separation of powers and the rule of law. That latter feature is worrying.
Hat tip: Manon Ress