The third panel featured a lively debate on the proper role for the government in enforcing intellectual property rights. In particular, discussion focused on the PRO-IP act, a controversial bill which had proposed increased damages for infringement and a new government bureaucracy to ensure the protection of copyright.
Sherwin Siy, above left, discussed the recent markup of the bill, which moved out of subcommittee only after the provision to disaggregate damages was struck.
Many of the questions focused on whether it was proper for the government to spend a significant amount of money to protect a private right. Prof. Post pointed out that the nature and protection of property rights changes with technology, noting that at one point flying an airplane over one’s land was considered a trespass. The government, he said, should not be in the business of protecting outdated business models. From the audience, Prof. Parchomovsky, the moderator from the first panel, questioned whether the benefits would outweigh the costs of such a proposal.