The copyright-reform debate within the Republican party has now cost someone his job.
Republican staffer Derek Khanna, who authored a report on copyright reform that appeared on the Republican Study Committee’s website in mid-November, was fired after the committee disowned the report and pulled it from its website.
The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney first reported on Thursday that Khanna had been fired.
Ars Technica followed up with a report that said “incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA), was approached by several Republican members of Congress” who were upset about Khanna’s report and asked that he “not be retained.”
Khanna, Ars Technica said, would not be returning as a staffer “when Congress re-convenes in January.” The 24-year-old former staffer declined The Daily Caller’s request for comment.
The Republican Study Committee, which is the 170-member conservative House caucus, is an independent research arm of the Republican Party.
Khanna examined in his report what he called “three myths of copyright law and possible reforms to copyright law that will lead to more economic development for the private sector and to a copyright law that is more firmly based upon constitutional principles.”
While even some conservatives are willing to concede that the current copyright system needs to be fixed, uproar ensued from content industry lobbyists and Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, according to The Washington Examiner.
Republicans are closely allied with the entertainment industry, according to Carney’s piece in the Examiner, echoing arguments made by copyright reform advocates who consider the current copyright regime a big government handout to copyright holders.
“In winning a fifth term earlier in the month, Blackburn received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics,” Carney said.
A Republican staffer told TheDC that the Blackburn had nothing to do with Khanna losing his job, claiming the firing was a decision by the leadership of the RSC.
“Copyright reform would have far reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand,” RSC Executive Director Paul Teller wrote in an email that retracted Khanna’s piece.
Teller did not immediately return TheDC’s request for comment.
“Congressman Blackburn has always supported private property rights and the right for individuals to own intellectual property,” Blackburn’s deputy chief of staff, Mike Reynard, told TheDC on Thursday. “They are foundational to our Constitutional principles and free enterprise system.”