US Trade Representative Ron Kirk: "If we give away our work product, we just don't have a future"

by Greg Frazier 03/13/2013 12:27 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

In his final meeting of the President’s Export Council as the United States Trade Representative yesterday, Ambassador Ron Kirk made a very compelling argument that protecting intellectual property rights both at home and abroad is essential to the continued economic success of our country.

Speaking briefly at the beginning of the meeting, Ambassador Kirk stated that here in the United States “we have a knowledge-based economy and we have to be able to protect that.”  As the U.S. Trade Representative the past four years, Ambassador Kirk has been a strong advocate for enforcing the protection of intellectual property rights with our nation’s trading partners. Throughout negotiations on international and trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Kirk and the Obama Administration have been adamant about ensuring “the strongest intellectual property protection that we can possibly seek in these agreements.”

Pointing out that all of the members of the President’s Export Council seated around the table yesterday “as different as [their] businesses are, are all linked by the ability to protect [their] work product,” Amb. Kirk asked for the thoughts and help of the other members of the council to help convey the crucial message to the American public that “if we give away our work product, we just don’t have a future.”

As representatives of an American industry that thrives on innovation and the distribution of content to audiences around the globe, we couldn’t agree more with Ambassador Kirk’s assessment.  You can watch the full video of the meeting, including Ambassador Kirk’s remarks, HERE.

Canada, China, Russia, Spain and Ukraine on Congressional Watch List for Content Theft

by Greg Frazier 05/26/2011 10:30 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

I was on Capitol Hill this morning for the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus (IAPC)’s unveiling of its “2011 International Piracy Watch List,” which flags countries where content theft is particularly egregious.  

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) lead the IAPC, which is committed to protecting American intellectual property and reducing the scourge of content theft abroad.

Theft of American movies, television shows, and other creative content in these countries and around the world costs tens of billions of dollars and jeopardizes the livelihoods of more than 2.4 million stagehands, makeup artists, actors, costume and set designers, truck drivers, architects, directors, accountants, and others who make up America’s creative community.

As more and more people watch and enjoy creative works online, America and its partners abroad need to increase domestic and international efforts to protect those works from theft. We thank Senators Whitehouse and Hatch and Congressmen Schiff and Goodlatte for recognizing the serious threat of digital piracy and for shining a much-needed spotlight on those places around the world where America’s creative works are most at risk. We will continue to work with the IAPC and its members to promote copyright protection and the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

It’s fitting that the IAPC’s announcement comes on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed key legislation aimed at preventing content theft by cracking down on rogue websites that sell or distribute stolen creative works. Legislation like the bipartisan PROTECT IP Act sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to tough but smart action against those who try to profit from stolen intellectual property.

You can read our full press release online here.   

Read more reactions to the report from the Business Software Alliance, National Music Publishers’ Association, Copyright Alliance, and the Recording Industry Association of America.

Senators Encourage Strong IP Protections in New Trade Agreement with Asia-Pacific Nations

by Greg Frazier 05/19/2011 06:37 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

We were glad to see this letter Tuesday from a bipartisan group of 28 U.S. Senators urging President Obama to push for “the highest standards of protection for intellectual property (‘IP’) rights” in a new regional trade agreement (the Trans-Pacific  Partnership Agreement, or TPP) with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) led the charge for the letter, which highlights the millions of American jobs that rely on intellectual property and the serious threat posed by content theft. 

The Senators wrote that “while our copyright industries are one of our most vibrant export sectors, they are under attack from rampant and massive online piracy.  These industries are irreparably harmed when technological protection measures are circumvented or when pirated content is streamed over the internet.”

America’s economic future – our trading presence, creative jobs, and financial and creative investments – depend on strong IP protection abroad. As a model for future free trade agreements, setting a clear and enforceable IP precedent for the Asia-Pacific TPP is imperative. 

For the federal and state governments, content theft means lost capital for balancing budgets and providing services, a weakened trading presence and fewer American jobs, and we appreciate these Senators for voicing their deep commitment to protecting American IP and our creative workforce.

Read more in this story from The Hill’s On the Money blog.

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