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August 20, 2013

Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Stronger IP enforcement needed

 
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This item is from a few weeks ago, but Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) had a good piece in The Hill where she calls for stronger IP enforcement action by the administration.

An excerpt:

Who is going to take the U.S. seriously if we continue to deny a performance right for sound recordings as the rest of the developed world already does? We’re in a league with North Korea, Iran and China that still fails to recognize these rights. Will other countries take advantage of U.S.-based innovation if we aren’t willing to take reasonable actions against foreign-based rogue websites that threaten U.S. health and safety?

We continue to allow 25 percent of all Internet traffic to go to illegal rogue websites. It helps criminal enterprises thrive but it kills American business and hurts consumers. Creators benefit from the certainty of consistent and strong enforcement.

America must do more than just offer reports that include the typical feel-good language: “transparency,” “fair use,” “coordination,” and “voluntary initiatives.” Instead of rehashing buzz terms and talking points, we need to institute a national strategy that puts Americans’ private property rights and the rule of law at the forefront. If we don’t, countries like China and India will have no problem taking advantage our failures to fight for what is rightfully ours.

In India’s case, they’ve adopted an industrial policy that exploits our intellectual property on a whole new level. India has found itself on the United States Trade Representative’s Special 301 “Priority Watch List” precisely because of the country’s lack of respect for U.S.-based innovation. Nearly every major U.S. industry — technology, bio, pharmaceutical, chemical, agriculture, communications, medical, and manufacturing — has strongly criticized India’s policies for clashing with internationally accepted IP standards.

If we’re not willing to take leadership on IP issues at home, we certainly can’t protect ourselves abroad. I share American job creators’ and innovators’ frustration that diminishing IP rights and weak enforcement undermines our economy. We should all share this frustration. Everyone should work together to do something meaningful about it.




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