Why Doesn't Congress Grok The Internet?
As the SOPA showdown proved, digital fair-use questions no longer amount to a molehill on Capitol Hill. But if that episode revealed that Hollywood needs to reboot its understanding of IP politics, it also exposed frightening ignorance in Congress about the digital economy.As long as the entertainment industry's interest in protecting its work from infringement collides with tech firms' desire to work free of government interference--and citizen's wariness of copyright-protection mandates breaking their software or Internet services--these squabbles will continue. But can we at least get a better understanding among our elected representatives of our online machinery? Blogger Rob Pegoraro will lead a discussion with staffers from Sen. Ron Wyden's office--deputy chief of staff Jennifer Hoelzer, Subcommittee on Trade staff director Jayme White--about how Congress has approached Internet policy issues before, how the SOPA battle might have changed things and what might come next.
Jayme White currently serves as Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness, chaired by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). In this position, White works to conduct oversight on the implementation of U.S. trade policies and to investigate topics related to trade promotion and the ability of American producers to compete in the global marketplace.
A focus of the subcommittee is identifying global trade barriers to environmental goods and digital goods and digital services, in addition to combating the unfair trade practices employed by overseas producers that seek to evade U.S. trade remedy laws.
Mr. White also serves as a senior technology advisor to Senator Wyden, who has a keen interest in advancing policies that encourage innovation and the continued development of the Internet as a platform for Americans to engage in speech and commerce.
Prior to his work in the Senate, White served for ten years in the House of Representatives and was Legislative Director to Congressman Jim McDermott, a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. During his tenure with Congressman McDermott, White played a key role in shaping policies on taxation, international trade, and domestic programs that improve economic security for working Americans.
Before becoming a public servant on Capitol Hill, White worked in the private sector in Seattle, his hometown, where he operated a successful independent record company. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Georgetown University.
As Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Jennifer Hoelzer has led press and messaging efforts on everything from Wyden's Healthy Americans Act to his Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act to his efforts to expose the Justice Department's reliance on secret law.
Most recently, Hoelzer helped lead Wyden’s successful campaign to block the Protect IP Act (PIPA), educating and mobilizing reporters and the public on the legislation’s consequences for Internet speech and innovation.
I write about interesting problems and possibilities in consumer technology.