The Computer & Communications Industry Association is releasing a list of questions that should be asked as the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement releases its strategy to coordinate IP enforcement across the federal government. If properly pursued, such a plan could be valuable, but if not implemented properly it could be a drag on innovation.

Balanced intellectual property policy will promote innovation, investment, and civic discourse, while ensuring that intellectual property rightsholders are fairly treated. CCIA is concerned that in seeking comments to develop the plan, the government requested only examples of costs of infringement, rather than looking at the overall economics of IP.

IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel is expected to unveil her enforcement plan to reduce counterfeiting and other IP infringement problems today.

In pursuit of a balanced approach to IP policy, CCIA will be reviewing the forthcoming strategic plan in light of the following four questions. CCIA would encourage those who want to help the overall economy – not just one sector – to ensure these principles are reflected in the government’s IP enforcement strategy.

Read A Framework for Assessing the Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement

The following comments can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“We certainly understand the need to reduce the risks of counterfeit products, and it would be short-sighted to not prioritize enforcement efforts to address activities that put the public at risk.

“We are surprised that no one appears to be recognizing the broader economic debate on this issue. A proper enforcement strategy would ensure that legitimate innovation is not being squashed by an overly broad, overly zealous crackdown. Balanced intellectual property will promote innovation, investment, and civic discourse, while ensuring that intellectual property rightsholders are fairly treated.”

Congress will have a chance to offer some oversight and balance on this issue during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.

Additional information on IP:

Industries that rely on fair use exceptions to copyright law grew faster than the rest of the U.S. economy from 2002 to 2007, expanded 5 percent and accounted for 23 percent of real economic growth, according a study “Fair Use in the U. S. Economy” commissioned by the Computer & Communications Industry Association in late April. The study conducted by economists used publicly available government data and World Intellectual Property Organization methodology.

Read “Fair Use in the U.S. Economy

The study found companies benefiting from limitations on copyright-holders’ exclusive rights, such as “fair use” – generated revenue of $4.7 trillion in 2007 – a 36 percent increase over 2002 revenue of $3.4 trillion. The most significant growth over this period was in Internet publishing and broadcasting, web search portals, electronic shopping, electronic auctions and other financial investment activity.

 

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