The theft of America’s intellectual property is said to drain $250B dollars a year from rights holders, and cost 750K potential jobs. A bipartisan posse of senators led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA) is looking to do something about it.
Although the scope of the bill, “The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008,” goes far beyond copyright issues of concern to various components of the entertainment industry, it is a big part of the piracy the bill seeks to address. Illegal use and reproduction of audio and video content, whether over the internet or by other means, will be included in an omnibus bill that will also address unauthorized reproduction of automobile parts and all sorts of patent infringement. Part of the money authorized by the will go straight to the DOJ to enhance enforcement capabilities.
The bill’s co-sponsors include Evan Bayh (D-IN.), George Voinovich (R-OH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX).
Bayh put the issue in stark relief. “The global economy is not working as it should when we buy from countries that have a competitive advantage over us, and they steal from us when we have a competitive advantage over them,” he said. “If hundreds of our cargo ships were being hijacked on the high seas or thousands of our business people were being held up at gunpoint in a foreign land, there would be a great sense of alarm and unshakable government resolve to act. That, in effect, is what is happening today, yet we are not doing nearly enough to stop it.”