Hi, I'm Derek Khanna (@Dkhanna11).

I wrote the House Republican Study Committee report on copyright, you can read it here: http://www.mbw.name/Derek_Khanna-RSC_Policy_Brief.pdf

I just published http://boingboing.net/2013/02/22/taking-on-real-reform-in-a-pos.html.

And I also wrote several of the main articles on the cellphone unlocking issue these are my two main articles in the Atlantic:



I have spearheaded a campaign on this issue with Sina Khanifar (who created the petition) and we now have over 100,000 signatures, I hope you will add your name here too: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-unlocking-cell-phones-legal/1g9KhZG7

We are currently at 109,000 signatures the deadline for the petition is Saturday night - please help run up the score!

I also went on Reason TV to talk about it and the copyright memo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hoUmCZjca4

Through this movement we have a number of new people that have weighed in on this matter. Vint Cerf as well as National College Republicans and the Tea Party Nation are all in support of allowing for cellphone unlocking. It's going to take a diverse group of people to make real reform in technology policy.

If anyone is interested in helping join me in my future endeavors - my e-mail is [email protected] - shoot me an e-mail asking to help and I'll include you. I frankly need a team of tech savy people who want to launch advocacy movements using modern technology - I have ideas all the time but don't have the expertise or resources off hand.

Comments: 226 • Responses: 97  • Date: 

mmasnick72 karma

What will it take to get politicians in DC to recognize that copyright is not a mere business issue for some companies, but something that actually impacts everyone, every single day?

Dkhanna1156 karma

Good question, I touch on this in my Boing Boing piece. To many people in DC it's a simple situation, piracy = bad, copyright protection = good. But of course it's much more complicated that that. I personally support copyright, but until you disentangle this thought process to a more rational one based upon what works and what doesn't we will be in trouble

Dkhanna1146 karma

A good place to start is with the cellphone unlocking issue, I don't think that the content industry can argue that you are "soft on piracy" because you support property rights for cellphone owners.

Dkhanna1155 karma

Something that people should consider, I don't think that people focus enough on twitter campaigns targeted at members of Congress - I've been very interested in this. But if new people tweet their member of congress on a regular basis about something they havent' taken a stand on - like cellphone unlocking - then they are likely to have an internal discussion in the office on where they are - this discussion is what we need for politics to work.

So I encourage people to do that.

flukz10 karma

That's very interesting. Can you expand on that at all?

Dkhanna1110 karma

I do below, tweet something like ""[Member of Congress]Have you read, http://boingboing.net/2013/02/22/taking-on-real-reform-in-a-pos.html? Will you fix the law to allow unlocking cell phones? @Dkhanna11"

Trampz21 karma

What are we (congress) doing about places like China where IP law is non-existant?

With the naufacturing capabilities (including labor costs) in China so low, it is difficult resisting manufacturing your product in China (or at least components) - but I would be reluctant to send the plans to something I invented to a place where it will be stolen and sold without my knowledge or permission.

The BMW X5 case and the fake Apple stores are perfect examples of the broken system there.

Dkhanna1118 karma

Not entirely sure, that's more of a trade question. We have lots of trade tools at our disposal. However, if you are worried about American jobs, isn't it nice that if you ship this stuff oversees there is a chance that the Chinese will rip you off? More of an incentive to stay domestic I suppose.

Dkhanna118 karma

But this issue, I don't think anyway maybe you can correct me, should affect overall patent/Copyright policy in the US.

xaq_8017 karma

According to this website the average age of house members is 56.7 and 62.2 for senate members. Do you think age factors in to some of these decisions about SOPA/CISPA? How much of it is personal perception for congressman vs. special interest groups pushing it through?

Dkhanna1136 karma

SOPA was pretty simple really - most Members don't understand technology or care about technology - and the biggest baddest interest group says that they have a solution that will save American jobs and defend IP, and people are like umm ok, cool! I was in meetings like this, and when I started to argue on the DNS etc. people just rolled their eyes because then it became complicated -- well, sometimes these things are complicated. When you are talking about a DNS level censorship regime it's pretty damn complicated.

mrrx15 karma

I totally believe this.

It scares me at the same time.

I see the local political level and everytime a property dispute or a policing issue gets complicated so many people disengage. It really will come down the the better soundbites. How much more on a national level ?

Dkhanna114 karma

Sound bites are important, and piracy =bad=jobs is a pretty good one on the other side.

Dkhanna118 karma

I'm not going to comment on age, obviously they tend to be older. Both parties will have to embrace technology, the question is whether they will embrace technology in order to win elections, and keep those tech savy people on the campaign trail, or whether they will use that tatent to develop tech-savy policies. That's really their choice. They will embrace technology, but it's up to us to make sure they do it for policy rather than just to get elected.

SO far I have seem massive strides on digital campaigning on the left, and a few steps on the right that are positive (of course way behind) but they need to include tech for policy too.

TRW6316 karma

Hi Derek...I admired your paper, and am wondering how much of the eventual legislation that becomes SOPA/PIPA/CISPA type bills is pushed to the committee staff and Members by lobbyists.

Thanks for your candor on this matter...I wish more of the GOP would recognize that the broken patent/IP system is because rent-seeking media companies are gaming DC to protect their profits.

Dkhanna1129 karma

Unfortunately, most Hill staffers do so many different issues it's almost impossible for them to have anything close to "expertise" on any of them - I'm not disparaging them many work very hard and most would admit this themselves.

So as a result, staffers often rely upon lobbyists who are seen by most as industry experts. Sometimes these lobbyists have decades of experience in an industry and really do know their stuff - often times they do not however. But either way, they are not trying to present the facts, they are presenting their facts. I always realized that this should be taken with a grain of salt. But in answer to your question, they are VERY involved.

Dkhanna1124 karma

To give an example, technology was just part of my portfolio, I also did Labor, Education, Government Oversight, Defense, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Oversight, District of Columbia stuff etc. And to be honest, I think I know technology pretty well for a Hill staffer, but I didn't know the rest that well - labor in particular I had no expertise in at the time.

Dkhanna1121 karma

I was previously given a portfolio of issues and I said no because I didn't know anything about them and they got very angry and said that's not the point. . . for a brief while I had to do environmental issues?. . . so we kind of have a system that isn't recruiting the experts in the field. (I am not disparaging these important issue areas they are just ones I didn't know that well at the time).

That being said, many, particularly committee staffers - are VERY knowledgeable about a few areas.

Dkhanna116 karma

Perhaps the biggest problem in this regard is that on the Hill, most staffers are divided up by committee jurisdiction. There is no committee that does technology stuff, so few people really gain expertise. Example, Cyber-security bill came out of Intelligence Committee - is that technology? Competing cyber bill was in Homeland Security Committee - is that primarily tech? Most other tech bills come from Energy & Commerce; Science, Space & Technology; or the Judiciary Committee. I can tell you that probably no one has those five committees. If you only do work for Energy and Commerce, are you going to be a tech expert? Or Judiciary? I think you get my point.

mike9465615 karma

Hi Derek, thanks for taking the time to do this.

The question I have is this, do you think despite our best efforts that there will inevitably be something passed along the lines of SOPA. Perhaps in its current form, or something closely resembling it?

Dkhanna1116 karma

Some of the elements of SOPA already were passed. Merchants cut off payments to "infringing" websites as part of a deal. After SOPA websites have been shut down through other means - look at Megaupload. Of course the TPP treaty may be an opportunity for them to sneak in some provisions that aren't done yet.

spazmodic-3 karma

TPP is something that a lot of people are not concerned about. Considering all the countries that are currently "interested" in it, it makes me think that people just don't know about it, think "we already beat SOPA," or just don't care (for whatever reason); though, I guess bringing it up like this is one way of trying to draw attention to it.

Dkhanna112 karma

Agreed, we can't rest on our laurels.

Dkhanna1113 karma

This is from my new piece with Boing Boing:

"I propose that the post-SOPA protest coalition take this issue on forcefully, and encourage Congress to pass a bill that codifies permanent exemptions to the DMCA.

Dear Congress, Please remove these items from your DMCA contraband list (both for developing the technology, selling and using the technology):

• Technology for unlocking and jail-breaking (currently allowed for iPhone, not allowed for iPad). • Adaptability technology for the blind to have e-books aloud (currently subject to triennial review by the Librarian of Congress – it’s legal to use the technology but illegal to develop or sell). • Technology to back-up our own DVD’s and Blue-Ray discs for personal use (current law makes this illegal and injunctions have even been used to shut down websites discussing this technology). Signed, The people

A Call to Arms It’s up to us: was the historic protest against SOPA merely a historical aberration, or was it the beginning of a new historical norm? They had all the chips in SOPA: they had the money, they had the lobbyists, and they had the organization. But we are the trump card—the digital generation—and we won.

We're putting those special interests on notice. We are here, and we aren’t backing down. There are millions of Americans who believe that we deserve better from our politicians. For those willing to commence the next key battle on copyright reform, this is our call to arms."

mike9465612 karma

Hypothetical question ... Suppose I hear a song/band I have never heard before through Pandora or something like that. I go online and download an album and really like them. Then I go to a store or itunes or something like that and buy their other albums.

Why does the music industry see this as detrimental? It is getting more music into the ears of consumers and then giving them a way to find more interests which inevitably lead to more sales due to more discovery.

Dkhanna1117 karma

They'd say downloading is stealing period and therefore wrong. They don't care about the net equation you point out.

Industry was scared of Pandora, but now they kind of embrace pandora as an example of how they are helping new market models -it's kind of the poster child that they point to to say, "hey look, Record industry isn't against innovation.

mike946564 karma

I suppose I see both sides of the problem. I think ultimately it will always be a point of contention between people wanting to keep the internet free and open, and the government or other interested agencies protecting their interests. It is an interesting battle being fought back and forth that I believe will not benefit the consumer in the end.

Dkhanna116 karma

Luckily we have a trump card - the Constitution and the American people who do care.

wannabeomniglot12 karma

Hi there, thanks so much for doing this.

If you had the option to strike down any three pieces of law, be they articles of the constitution or riders on bills, which three would you choose? Also, if you were able to impart one piece of wisdom to every American consumer, what would it be?

Dkhanna1117 karma

Not most important, but of course start with getting rid of the penny, getting rid of farm subsidies, and reforming most aspects of how people interact with the government. We want a smarter and leaner government. There's no reason why people's experience with the DMV and Social Security office is slow, inefficient and technologically behind.

kathygnome4 karma

I don't know about where you live, but I'm pretty damned pleased with the Mass registry. Wait times online. AAA offices as satellites for license/registration. Renew everything online.

Dkhanna112 karma

Not in Washington, DC

Dkhanna119 karma

Haven't really thought this through. Maybe I can get back to you.

curien9 karma

For a while now I've thought that one of the main problems with IP is that there's no disincentive to "trolling" -- that is, hoarding IP in the hopes that you'll eventually come across a violation that you can sue over.

What do you think about a small property tax on IP? That would provide an incentive to release works into the public domain without setting arbitrary limits. It would also encourage rights-holders to claim realistic values for their property during IP disputes. Plus, it would generate some much-needed revenue for the government. I saw an estimate a few years ago that US IP is worth about $5 trillion, so even a very modest tax (relative to real estate taxes) could bring in a significant amount of revenue.

I'm interested to hear your opinion.

Dkhanna1112 karma

That's interesting - not immediately inclined to agree. My proposition in my report, just one idea I put on the table not meant to be the final solution, would be to have a small percentage based fee every time you had to renew. I kind of like the idea of having free copyright for a while and for that matter on patents - but I can see your side as well. I think a free period and then a discouragement period makes sense for copyright, have to think more about patents.

mkarolian9 karma

What is something I can do to help move this country toward more reasonable and practical laws that govern our digital lives?

Dkhanna117 karma

well there is small scale activism, e-mailing organizing etc. You can e-mail me if you want to help me with my ongoing projects ([email protected])

EnglishTraitor8 karma

You're doing great work! I'm a huge advocate for copyright reform and will gladly talk anyone's ear off that will listen. Your policy brief is fantastic and would be a big step in the right direction. I feel the most pressing issue in copyright is to drastically reduce the length of protection terms. (I really mean drastic, as in months, not over a century in many cases)

What policy do you feel most needs to change and what's your solution?

Dkhanna1112 karma

Well most, we need to change how we frame the issue. It can't be piracy = bad therefore all copyright everything = good. We can support copyright and want smart copyright laws, that's where I would start. I would have oversight hearings to talk about some of these antiquated laws. DMCA, one of the main instruments of copyright law, was created in 1998, well before modern content. As a result it now outlaws a wide swath of technology. I'd have a hearing on that asap to talk about how it can be updated to modern technology.

Overall we need policies that foster innovation rather than inhibit new business models.

AnimalRevolution7 karma

Are you still going to law school? How do you have time to do all of this stuff?

Dkhanna1114 karma

Very good question, I am kind of killing myself right now with many projects. I talk to a lot of Congressional staffers about these issues to and am on the Hill most days. I go to Georgetown Law at night.

Dkhanna1111 karma

So I try to do everything at once.

pcvcolin7 karma

Isn't it kind of stupid that people are even having to petition the White House about this kind of thing? Why doesn't the White House and Congress already get it? Why don't the majority of Congressmembers and the White House / President pull their collective heads out of their asses on this issue (and CFAA, and CISPA, and... and... and...) oh btw: visit http://forkthelaw.com/ (....) /afk

Dkhanna115 karma

It is unfortunate, I say that in the article. It should be obvious. I completely agree.

plusroyaliste6 karma

What do you think the Republican party needs to do to appeal to more young people and what will happen if it fails to do so?

I'm a young person who would love to live in a world where I could consider voting Republican, but as long as the party remains devoted to the politics of 'no' without alternatives and only demonstrates energy when it comes to the wealthy I can't see it happening.

Dkhanna117 karma

It needs to be the party of innovation - stay tuned, that's my next major piece.

GringoAngMoFarangBo1 karma

There was an interesting article in the NYT about Republicans and their technological ineptitude during the election, and why this will be a contributing factor to future loses if they don't get with the times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/can-the-republicans-be-saved-from-obsolescence.html?pagewanted=all&_r=5&ref=magazine&

Any thoughts on this (if you've read it?)

Dkhanna112 karma

I was with "Lawyers for Romney" during the election and I saw first hand how the technology wasn't really beta or field tested and it was a complete failure on game-day - so it rang true (I was not involved in the tech with them at all). That's an interesting article.

AnonPaul6 karma

"It (GOP) needs to be the party of innovation - stay tuned, that's my next major piece."

Short of dismantling & admitting that our government is bought and sold to the highest bidder, what can the GOP do to be innovative? -minority candidates?? It's a sham, bro. Frankly, I'm not very excited to hear about the two-party system 2.0.

>mfw the GOP drops by to discuss copyright laws

Dkhanna117 karma

I mean business innovative - help small businesses. They definitely need more minorities and women as well.

AnonPaul-8 karma

If your party wants to appeal to women, they should stop trying to control women's bodies! How can the GOP talk about "smaller-government" and then espouse the idea of telling a woman what to do with her ovaries?! It's hypocrisy!

...but, to stay on topic; I have a sneaking suspicion that (whether you know it, or not) you're here to test the waters, so to speak. To find out how to word "internet-regulating" legislation just right so that the average 20something doesn't flip-shit as soon as they hear about it. I could be way off-base with that, though.

I do not envy you, sir. You're a young person in a party that is totally disconnected from your own generation. I hope that in the future, you guys (young Republicans) figure out a way to not offend the sensibilities of PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE who isn't the CEO of something-or-other.

Good day to you, sir.

Dkhanna119 karma

I'm not testing the waters - I want reform.

AnonPaul-2 karma

I apologize for showing my tin-foil cap. :) I did say "I may be way off-base with that". If you legitimately came here on your own, not at the behest of your boss then I apologize & applaud you for venturing into the liberal-hivemind.

I don't think that the Republican party is stupid. Quite the contrary, actually. But, I must insist that the typical "right-wing" person is generally a 'low-information' person. Can you tell me with a straight face that Fox News is not utterly idiotic at times? I mean, don't get me wrong...you can say the exact same thing about MSNBC. It's scary, man. Television is so powerful! I know that this has absolutely nothing to do with the OP, but I would like to know your thoughts on this subject. It's not everyday that I speak to conservatives (who aren't Kool-Aid drinking parrots, that say 'Murica un-ironically) on the internet.

Also, how long do you think (if ever) it will be before the people in this country realize that we don't need to send people to vote on our behalf? Wasn't the whole idea of sending a "representative" to the Capital to vote in our place just a way of making sure that everyone's voices were heard? Since back then people weren't able to drop everything and utilize the modes of transportation of the era (horse & carriage) to go do it themselves, because it would consume all of their time/money/lives. I mean, it's technologically feasible now... We would still be in need of someone to write laws that would impact their constituency, and listen to the people, but why can't the people vote on them directly via modern technology?

I apologize for being a not-so-well-spoken person with poor language-skills. lol, but I think you can get the gist of what I mean to ask you.

Dkhanna117 karma

I came here on my own, I don't have a boss - I no longer work in Congress.

Unfortunately, sensationalism sells. But neither party has a monopoly on good ideas. I'm interested in solving problems - it's more than red v. blue to me, in fact that dynamic is kind of irrelevant.

mrrx5 karma

Nice to see tech-savvy people in the Republican party. I'll be following your ideas with interest.

Business is important, not just big business. Technology enables small businesses and can be very disruptive to established ones. And then there's the issues of monopoly powers in American internet connection choices.

Dkhanna114 karma

Can't agree more - I care about innovation - particularly disruptive innovation. This usually comes from small businesses.

mo-faux5 karma

Do you view the abandonment of the principles of Public Domain as valid justification for blatant copyright violation? Do you think people will ever engage in a copyright system that is prepared to treat them this way?

Dkhanna113 karma

Civil disobedience is often justified, I'm not sure if it is in that case. But civil disobedience of cell-phone unlocking, I'm right there with you :).

read_a_fucking_book5 karma

What organizations have been really at the front on issues like this? Do any of them endorse or rate politicians, to give us a sense of how Congresspeople do on tech issues? EFF springs to mind, but I don't think they endorse.

Dkhanna116 karma

Can't think of any that do that - but I think the metrics on that may be hard as well. But interesting idea to consider.

read_a_fucking_book6 karma

What do you mean by metrics being hard? Just in terms of knowing how people are? That makes sense, but you can always look at votes, and generally don't endorsing organizations conduct interviews with candidates to get a sense of that sort of thing? Anyway, yeah, I use ratings from other organizations who really understand their policy to judge candidates all the time - but tech doesn't have any organizations like that that I know of.

Dkhanna113 karma

You could "score" votes - or send surveys - many special interest groups do that.

Dkhanna114 karma

Those who are interested in the tweeting idea, this is what I mean (and feel free to do this):

"[Member of Congress]Have you read, http://boingboing.net/2013/02/22/taking-on-real-reform-in-a-pos.html? Will you fix the law to allow unlocking cell phones? @Dkhanna11"

Dkhanna111 karma

this strategy could actually be very useful - not just on my article I mean as a strategy overall. Because followers of that Member may be exposed to it for the first time, and if enough "constituents" tweet at them they will have an internal discussion on what to do. Often the answer is nothing, but if pressure continues they'll feel that they have to address. We want that internal conversation to take place. The biggest problem is the lack of that conversation in the first place.

I should mention that this strategy really works with issues that aren't ones with "stock responses." If you tweet, "Support women's rights . . ." etc. they will already have a stock answer to go so a campaign is pretty ineffective. But cellphone unlocking? I can tell you (from personal knowledge) that no one in Congress had stock language on that. As a result of the campaign on this issue enough people wrote in such that they had to create form letters on this.

tidux4 karma

What's your take on software patents? I think they're complete bunk and need to be eliminated - Microsoft is using its patent on the filesystem from Windows 95 to extort money from Android device makers and that patent won't expire for another couple of years! Patents just aren't compatible with the software industry, and we're already getting screwed on that - I have to take a bunch of extra steps to put VLC on my phone because Google can't legally put it in the Play Store in the US.

Another thing that needs to change about our trade policies are our asinine restrictions on exporting cryptography. I basically can't contribute code to the OpenBSD project because I live in the US and the project is hosted in Canada to avoid those same export restrictions.

Dkhanna113 karma

Agree with you on exporting cryptography.

Patents on software are something I'm still reading about and looking into. I don't like to weigh into things until I'm entirely well versed in all sides in the argument.

latex2e4 karma


Dkhanna115 karma

Please send article, that's fascinating [email protected]

latex2e5 karma


Dkhanna112 karma

Let's hope this isn't in TPP. . .

norulers4 karma

What do you think about Sweden's newly formed Church of Kopimism (Sweden's officially recognized "copying" religion)? Their articles of faith includes the notion that information is holy and copying is a sacrament.

Dkhanna114 karma

Pardon my ignorance but off hand it sounds kind of crazy.

Dkhanna114 karma

For people who are interested in more of a deep dive into copyright stuff, I did the lead essay for Cato-Unbound on the way forward on copyright reform: www.cato-unbound.org/2013/01/07/derek-khanna/the-way-forward-on-copyright-reform/

And then I did a follow-up. The main counter-argument given is that copyright is a "natural right" and you can't infringe it. So my follow-up takes that on: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2013/01/31/derek-khanna/the-problems-with-natural-law-copyright/

Ashikata4 karma

Thank you for your time and good luck with the campaign.

How/why did this area become a passion of yours?

Dkhanna1111 karma

I care about innovation. If we are serious about economic growth we have to be serious about innovation. And how the government inhibits innovation through crony-capitalism has always been of interest to me.

DickCheneysRifle3 karma

Do you think an appropriate role of the federal government is to invest in new and emerging technologies that have social benefits? I ask because I feel like your party doesn't - or at least doesn't prioritize it enough. Also, UMass, right?

Dkhanna118 karma

Yes, I think that there can be an appropriate role for the federal government. Particularly in areas of market failure. And I think that basic research is one of the areas where the private sector tends to have difficulty correctly allocating resources too. My grandfather worked for Bell Labs and they used to just create stuff all the time just to invent - I don't know if there is a modern Bell Labs. So yes, government can have a role, but we have to establish the WHY - not just assume that it's good so government is the solution. Basic research = good, applied research = should receive more strict scrutiny.

Dkhanna115 karma

I am a UMASS Amherst Alumnae. You can read about my UMASS days here: http://polsci.umass.edu/news_and_events/newslist/view/227/

DickCheneysRifle4 karma

Yep I remember them - I was there.

Dkhanna113 karma

And do I know you?


Hey Derek, Tom from Pike. I've been following what you've been doing lately. Keep it up, we need more people like you in Washington.

Dkhanna111 karma

Let me know what you're up to as well.

Dkhanna111 karma

Remember when I was escorted out of a student government meeting by police - because I filibustered to save a newspaper from being shut down for speech that the student government didn't like? The content industry this fall tried to use that as a negative on opposition research on me. . . but I'm kind of proud of that actually.

I don't regret standing up for free speech.

hnasarat3 karma

Many of your recent pieces speak against the DMCA, but it is merely an implementation of policies set in practice by WIPO and the WTO. TRIPS (the copyright treaty that WTO member countries must adhere to) even was helped written by the IIPA, which is comprised of organizations like the BSA.

Do you see some kind of balance between combating specific injustices (e.g. phone unlocking) and systemic problems (The neocolonial global spread of neoliberal corporate-sponsored laws)?

Dkhanna115 karma

Good points about being linked to the treaties - all the more reason for us to be careful about TPP. I haven't really delved into the systematic problems you point to.

Dkhanna113 karma

This is what I said on TPP in my Cato-Unbound piece: "This treaty includes provisions on intellectual property that are above and beyond those in the Berne Convention. Setting controversial and contested copyright terms in stone through treaty was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. It’s an affront to the legislative process to try to “re-codify” legislative wins into treaty agreements. That would make it significantly more difficult to ever change course.

The length of copyright terms has always received significant debate and disagreement. This was likely the intention of the Founders in not specifying what a "limited time" meant within the Constitution itself. But current drafts of the TPP allegedly establish the law at life plus 70 years. Additionally, it would include or even expand portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) relating to anti-circumvention technologies. To be clear, I am strongly against unauthorized copyright infringement, but the DMCA outlawing of anti-circumvention technologies is extremely controversial—and rightfully so.

The DMCA created rules that until recently made it illegal to jailbreak your own iPhone or to develop a program to read a Kindle book aloud to someone who is blind. The DMCA still bars developing, selling, providing, or even linking to technologies that play legal DVDs purchased in a different region, or to convert a DVD you own to a playable file on your computer. Because no licensed DVD playing software is currently available for the Linux operating system, if a Linux user wishes to play a DVD that they have legally bought, they cannot legally play it on their own computer. The DMCA’s rules have also made legitimate fair uses of copyrighted material much harder. Using snippets of video for classrooms is legal fair use, but to do so, teachers have to use illegal technology to “rip” the DVD to a playable and editable file, or they must illegally download the file online.

Within the leaked details of the TPP Treaty there are many troubling features, but perhaps most troubling is the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Members have been allowed to view documents, but most of their staff and the general public have been denied access. Outside of the national security realm, this type of secrecy in regard to a treaty is particularly troubling and perhaps unprecedented. Another troubling aspect is that despite this secrecy, there have been “stakeholder” presentations representing one particular side and vested interest, rather than the perspective of the general public or the requirements of our Constitution. One of the stakeholder presentations at the latest TPP negotiations was titled "The Walt-Disney Company: Creativity, Brought to you by Copyright.” At the same time, representatives from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) were denied access and not allowed in the building for recent negotiations.

For all these reasons, the TPP treaty will be a major battle in reforming copyright. The United States is the party asking for many of these provisions on intellectual property, and elected political leaders can and should get involved now to put an end to that. If a treaty is submitted that includes this type of language on intellectual property, 34 Senators should ensure that this treaty is not approved."

Atlas263 karma

For your unlocking campaign, the whole /r/android community loves you.


That is all.

Dkhanna112 karma

I love them back! we still have 24 hours, can they run up the score card and get us more signatures? The more signatures the better.

TheCountryRedditaria3 karma

How do lobbyist working for or against you have an effect on this particular issue?

Thank you for this AMA it is a great way for you to talk to citizens without any erroneous filters. Please encourage your colleagues to do the same with their time, though I'm sure you are all very busy. Thanks again!

Dkhanna117 karma

Lobbyists represent interests of existing organizations. My problem is that I fundamentally care most about the companies and business models that don't exist but could - so in that regard lobbyists do not normally represent that perspective. A joke in DC is that once a company has stopped being innovative then they sent lobbyist to ensure that they still make money.

TheCountryRedditaria1 karma

I assumed there would be lobbyists from the cell phone companies working against you.

Dkhanna111 karma

There absolutely are.

Dkhanna113 karma

I don't have colleagues.

AnimalRevolution3 karma

What are your feelings towards Marsha Blackburn?

Dkhanna113 karma

In her press release after the memo went out, she called the idea of going back to the Constitution and the ideas in the RSC memo as "radical" and "bizarre" - I'd be interested in other people's thoughts on going back to the Constitution and finding a system that fosters the most innovation.

TheJuBe3 karma

So I briefly talked to you about some legislation, what can I do in addition to signing petitions and sending comments through things such as PopVox?

Dkhanna116 karma

We need to start advocacy movement on ideas on a regular basis. Ask to meet with your Congressman. Set up a website, launch a campaign. Take a non-issue and make it a real issue.

mCopps3 karma

I just wanted to say as a person with more liberal/libertarian leanings I don't often find a lot of common ground with most Republicans but people like you give me hope your country may be able to reach reasonable compromises on issues.

Keep up the great work.

Dkhanna116 karma

I think a lot of people would be Republicans and conservatives if the party was serious about innovation and actual conservatism rather that rhetorical conservatism.

randomguysays3 karma

Hi Derek:
Buying songs on iTunes for $0.99 is legal and moral. But iTunes sells songs so cheap to discourage piracy. So, we legally purchase content at prices that were determined by piracy.
How do you feel that stands on a moral ground?

Dkhanna117 karma

Interesting point. But for my work largely irrelevant. I'm not against IP or against IP enforcement - rather I want our IP laws to be effective.

Dkhanna113 karma

Some have asked how they can help.

If you want to help with an advocacy campaign I may work on in the future - e-mail me. My biggest impediment is editing because I have no editor and have a stream of conscious writing style - so if anyone is good at editing and wants to read stuff to contribute new ideas and criticize mine (yes I want that) email me for that too at [email protected].

TheLanceHan3 karma

Wow this is one hell of a thoroughly answered AMA. Just commenting to say thank you for doing this. The effort for communication is more than most congressmen or party affiliate have done.

Dkhanna113 karma

You're welcome, I'm happy that people are talking about some of these issues and taking time out of their day to discuss them with me.

Dkhanna113 karma

I will answer you as well

NYKevin1 karma

Thanks for doing this.

Do you see copyright as a property right, or a government subsidy?

Dkhanna112 karma

I address this here about why it isn't a natural right. It's a government created property right and therefore a subsidy: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2013/01/31/derek-khanna/the-problems-with-natural-law-copyright/

Dkhanna111 karma

Some people have asked how they could help. My biggest thing I need right now is I'm looking for a US service member, optimally someone who is going to be deployed, to help me with a short easy 20 minute project that they can help with wherever they are.

Lady_Insomnious1 karma

Hello, I just wanted to say that I thought your memo on the current state of copyright law was spot-on. Keep up the good work!

Dkhanna111 karma

Then let's get to work!

Foolie1 karma

Who is to blame for the intransigence of congress in passing major legislation? Do you think that this is the main reason for the abyssmal approval that most Americans have of the legislative branch?

Dkhanna113 karma


foolishmuffin1 karma

Derek, I used to work with you in Russell. Happy birthday!

Dkhanna111 karma

Team Scott Brown?

oscar_the_couch1 karma


Dkhanna111 karma

I didn't create the petition, Sina did. But once it was created it was the right way to proceed on this issue. There aren't many ways that US citizens have to easily petition their federal govt., this is one of them. The We the People website- to me - is broader than just President Obama. With over 100,000 signatures, I can, and have, gone to Congressional staffers and Members and said, "So President Obama will weigh in, where are you?"

This being said, the White House has previously responded on similar measures. Fixing this requires legislation, they often comment on legislation. It's definitely an area they can comment upon.

oscar_the_couch1 karma


Dkhanna111 karma

Not sure.

tomelo1 karma

Ah, I am really late to this so I don't know if you're still answering questions.

Also - I don't really have much to add here other than a fluff question. Are you the same guy that was a member of the Republican club at Umass Amherst? I was an undergrad at that school a few years ago, and your name sounds super familiar. And if so, was it difficult being a member of your political party at that campus? (My perception of the school was that it was super liberal.)

When I was there - I was actually a member of the Radical Student Union for a short while. Woooo college.

Dkhanna111 karma

I was in the Republican Club. I got the previous President impeached for illegal activity, and then was President of the club briefly - we definitely tried to shake things up at the UMCR's.

I remember the Radical Student Union - I don't think they were fans of me as the Republican Club President.

tomelo1 karma

Oh, cool! I thought I remembered you.

And yeah - the RSU. I was interested in a bunch of similar issues as them for a while, but wound up leaving the group once I spent more time with them. It seemed that they were often more interested in stirring up controversy with your group on campus than actually doing anything of value. It was kind of unfortunate.

Dkhanna111 karma

When I was President we were at peace with RSU as far as I remember. We had an internal civil war so we had plenty to deal with at the time.

Halfdrummer1 karma

Wow you answer alot of questions. Im thinking about becoming a politician(I am currently a Junior in highschool.) Any advice you could give me? BTW love what youre doing :)

Dkhanna111 karma

Definitely not the right person to ask, but for what it's worth. . .

I have found that activism and politics is basically the same thing at different scales even on a small level. You get better at it with practice. People say this, but they don't KNOW this and act upon it in politics.

My limited skill set is a result of having tried to be politically active even in high school. Then in college there was a corrupt student government that was stealing money and an illegal affirmative action program. Almost everyone said, whatever, I said, no. And I stood up for what I believed and got a lot of crap, but in the end I won but more important I learned how to do this stuff. Coming to DC was clearly a different level ball game, but it was still a ball game and I knew some of the rules etc.

So my point is, find something your passionate about, and fight like hell and build upon it. Start small, want to change your school lunch for example?

Don't just say I want to be a politician; rather, be successful in changing the world around you, build a movement and a group of allies. Then you'll know what this world is like and when you're ready you can decide to run and all that jazz. But the electoral guys won't tell you if you are ready to govern, only you can really know that.

Luminair1 karma

What phone do you personally use? What phones do you see most often used in government?

Dkhanna111 karma

I just bought an IPhone 5 - on the advice of counsel I decline to comment on whether or not it is unlocked.

TheStoryGoesOn1 karma

What are the best job banks for the hill?

I know of the Heritage Foundation, conservativejobs, Craig Roberts, Brad Traverse and Tom Manatos. Any of them worth actually paying for?

Any resume banks actually worth it for someone looking to start, ideally as a Legislative Correspondent? I've got no nearby Republicans to really try for geographic advantages.

Dkhanna111 karma

That's a pretty informative list, I will check those out myself actually.

Resume banks are kind of hard because everyone puts their resume in.

hairyassandballs0 karma

I work in a corporate office and go on reddit a lot. I really think we got off on the wrong foot with your grammar error and use of the word, "spearhead."

But I want to flash my Note 2 from Sprint to Metro PCS because Sprint is a horrible company as of late to me. So I also want to have your baby now.

Dkhanna11-1 karma


hairyassandballs1 karma

I'm over it.

Now about my Note 2, can what you are doing help me flash it over to Metro PCS?

Trying to connect the dots here.

Dkhanna111 karma

no idea sorry.

tka140 karma

Why should we bother to support you on this issue when we can just break the law without consequence? I have no ther reason to support you and your party other than this wedge issue. Thanks in advance for your response.

Dkhanna114 karma

I explain in my Atlantic article how just because a law is seldom enforced - it doesn't make it any more ok. In fact I would argue that it's worse, it's insidious waiting to strike. If you have terrible laws that are actually enforced, then people will respond, but a law that isn't enforced is (to me) the worst of all worlds.

I'm not asking you to support my party, I never have. That's your call. I care about practical solutions, and fixing the problem. I'm not recruiting.

Cornflakesyummy0 karma

Who the memo?

Dkhanna111 karma


Dkhanna111 karma

I can't change the title, sorry

Ihmhi0 karma

Hey bro, you misspelled the &mdash; in the article's 8th paragraph.

Dkhanna112 karma

I already told the editor - not in my draft.

k00sk00s10 karma


Dkhanna112 karma

Not following. I am not judging private contacts here, I'm saying that the federal government should not make federal criminals out of people using their own phones - particularly without any compelling interest.

The free market position is to let contracts play out, not have crazy laws. Tea Party Nation endorsed the petition and unlocking yesterday. Republicans have not formally endorsed anything - and of course I don't speak for the party.

MisterWonka0 karma

Derek, I think you a word in your title, bro.

Dkhanna111 karma

Yes, sorry was rushing to set this up and can't change it.

basketcase90 karma

I am not an American and I am often befuddled by the fact that most of my American friends have different definitions for the same ideology. I know that you have explained why you call yourself a Republican by stating that you are conservative. Would you explain what you mean by conservative? Does this just mean that you prefer a government that is fiscally conservative or do you also see yourself as socially conservative?

Dkhanna111 karma

This will take a while, maybe google "conservative vs. Republican" or something - but it's complicated.

Basically Republican is the party. Conservatism is a ideology.

AzraelDomonov0 karma

How do you the memo?

Dkhanna114 karma

I can't change the title, sorry

n0onehere0 karma

Man if you posted this on Monday morning, it would have over 2000 upvotes, not to mention top of the front page.

Dkhanna111 karma

Wish I had you as my PR person - I have no PR person - I thought that 3 PM EST would be good for each time zone. And I wanted it today because of the petition window closing on Monday.

HavocSynapse0 karma

are you of any relation to Jim?

I'll show myself out.

Dkhanna111 karma

? No.?

wortime-1 karma


Dkhanna113 karma

Umm, a few things. 1. Answer to your question is I haven't received a dollar from a lobbyist, 2. Why am I part of getting this "law passed?" I'm trying to get the situation reversed and then go even further on reform.

nomadincalifornia-1 karma

Why are you a Republican?

Dkhanna1113 karma

I believe in a small federal government, I believe in property rights (in real property) as pretty-near absolute, I believe that the federal government is bloated and inefficient.

I'm a fiscal conservative and on most other issues I believe in letting the states set their own policies to be laboratories of democracy.

nomadincalifornia-2 karma

small federal government that tells people who is allowed to marry? a small government that bails out banks? a small government that tells women what they can do with their bodies? Laboratories of democracy? Republicans have made Lavoratories of democracy. Thanks for tackling the cellphone issue!

Dkhanna1111 karma

I agree that the party is quite astray. But I am first and foremost a conservative because I believe in small government. Republicans are highly imperfect in this regard - believe me I agree with that especially under Bush - but since I am conservative I am on the Republican side - that being said the party better return to its principles rather than crony-capitalism.

GringoAngMoFarangBo-5 karma

I believe in small government.

And you're a Republican?

Dkhanna114 karma

I am a conservative - I consider myself a conservative first and foremost. I vote for the party that represents closest to that ideology.

ecm85-1 karma

Not a very serious question, but have you watched House of Cards?

Dkhanna116 karma

YES, it is amazing. I watched West Wing religiously, and tell every person who comes to DC to re-watch. Now I tell them to watch West Wing and House of Card. It is so good.

Unfortunately, it's stunningly accurate. I mean the last episodes go a bit overboard, but other than that highly accurate.

Dkhanna113 karma

Except for the fact that he's the House whip, but I digress.

Dkhanna115 karma

Disagree, that is a serious question.

kurrimasta-2 karma

As a fellow Indian, why do you have to suck so badly? Folks like you, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Ricky Gill...the worst

Dkhanna111 karma

Kind of hurtful.

yannyboy100-6 karma

What did you do to become senator? I am considering pursuing a political career and i would like to some day become a senator, a representative, or God allow president. I assume a pre law program as well as law school is required, but what after that point?

Dkhanna115 karma

Must be wrong AMA, I am not a Senator nor close.

ramajam-7 karma

Your grammar is atrocious.

Dkhanna115 karma

Sorry, typing answers on Reddit is not conducive for thorough review.

jacksaces-12 karma

That's nice, as this is such a critical issue for the nation. spare me.

Dkhanna1113 karma

Do you care about jobs? Do you care about freedom? Do you care about property rights?