CCIA Responds To White House Request for IP Enforcement Comments

June 26, 2012

The Computer & Communications Industry Association responded to a White House request for public input on intellectual property enforcement. CCIA President & CEO Ed Black expressed frustration that despite what policy makers learned from the problems with SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, they are still attempting to address complex issues relating to intellectual property and the Internet through a narrow paradigm that appears to be more geared towards getting their enforcement agenda back on track – rather than examining the whole scope of the problem and devising a balanced response.

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

“It seems they still just don’t get it when it comes to the Internet and intellectual property.  We’re not talking about enforcing well-crafted laws; but rather a cumbersome, out-dated regulatory behemoth desperately in need of reform.  Our IP regulations date from the 19th century, and the past three years have approached 21st century ecosystem economics with a 20th century cops-and-robbers enforcement mindset that produced SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, and conflict, litigation, and division.  Though we are concerned with the likely narrow focus of this undertaking, we support efforts to invite participation by a broader set of stakeholders and the public.

“Enforcement will remain an elusive goal so long as the underlying law is so fundamentally flawed.  It is time to chart a course appropriate for the 21st century.  During its campaign and early days some leaders in this administration demonstrated a thoughtful and deeper understanding of the technology and Internet industry.  We urge that the wisdom and understanding glimpsed then will re-emerge soon.

“CCIA, which was an early leader in the fight against SOPA and PIPA, will respond in-depth to the Administration’s request for comments with constructive proposals to address the full range of issues that need attention.

The federal register notice asking for input on how the White House does IP enforcement is getting some attention online from the millions of Internet users who flooded Capitol Hill with phone calls in January opposing the SOPA/PIPA legislation. The Hollywood-backed bills would have sacrificed how the Internet works in hopes of further crackdowns on online infringement.

The White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, is now asking for public input on IP enforcement as part of its mandate under the Pro IP Act of 2008. Espinel is charged with developing the administrations joint enforcement plan and reporting to Congress every 3 years. So this request does not necessarily signal a new sensitivity to the appearance of public input following a swell of opposition to SOPA and PIPA and the more recent failure of an initiative in Europe that would have expanded US IP enforcement overseas as part of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Part of the activism against these IP enforcement measures stemmed from frustration over a business-as-usual approach in which members of Congress followed the demands of the movie and music industry, but did little to include broader economic or public interests in meetings or hearings in crafting the policy.  Many companies, Internet users, Internet engineers and cybersecurity experts wrote to Congress about their serious concerns. Their input did not stop the legislation, but it helped start the swell of opposition against it.

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