In addition to copyright, my academic work focuses on how policy is made in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Which is why I found this account of how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce operates, by James Verini in the Washington Monthly, so fascinating. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of how issues are lobbied, and worth thinking about when considering the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s work on copyright and intellectual property (anyone know of a similar story on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce?).
There’s a lot in here, but check out the following:
I asked Donohue what, exactly, the Chamber does. “Two fundamental things,” he replied. “We’re advocates. Sure we do studies, sure we do events, sure we do meetings, sure we have all kinds of stuff, but we’re advocates.” And then he surprised me again with his candor. “The second thing we do is really more interesting,” he said. “We’re the reinsurance industry for individual industry associations and state chambers of commerce and people of that nature.” An example, said Donohue, was when Wall Street found itself on the defensive in opposing new banking regulations. “They can’t move forward, they can’t move back, or maybe they’re being overrun, and they’ll come to us and say, ‘Can we collect our reinsurance?’” he explained. “And then we build coalitions and go out and help them.”