Issa/ Eshoo Oppose Tech Mandates, Support Innovation
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:24 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced H. Con. Res. 4, the “Creativity and Innovation Resolution” This resolution highlights the importance of rewarding creators for their works, as well as protecting innovations from unnecessary mandates.

The debate currently being waged in Congress is whether radio broadcasters should be allowed to use copyrighted intellectual property without compensation because of the perceived promotional benefit to the owner of the creative work. Broadcasters are by law exempt from paying royalties to owners of sound recording copyrights. Past-proposed amendments in the House and Senate to the 1995 Act would eliminate the exemption for broadcast radio, thus requiring them to pay royalties to the owner of the sound recording.

The Property Rights Alliance has long been an advocate of the right of performers to collect royalties from broadcasters when their recordings are played on the radio, but unfortunately as a way to resolve this dispute there have been proposals to mandate that all mobile devices carry an FM receiver. An FM chip mandate is both unnecessary and harmful to tech innovation. In the current marketplace, consumers are offered hundreds of choices from smartphones to tablets, as well as a multitude of ways to enjoy music on these devices. If there truly is a high demand, the appropriate response comes from the market. Onerous government mandates do nothing more than drive up costs for consumers for a function they may not want.

I applaud Reps. Issa and Eschoo for standing up for artists' rights while resisting harmful government mandates.

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Harming Innovation Will Not Win the Future
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:04 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

Last week when President Obama submitted his second budget proposal, much of the criticism was aimed at the trillions of dollars in tax hikes included within the plan. Of course, tax increases are extremely bad policy but I will leave that argument to my colleagues at Americans for Tax Reform. Also included within the Obama proposal is a plan that harms medical innovation and threatens the future of life-saving medicines that have transformed health care in America.

The United States currently has one of the strongest and fastest growing biotech and pharmaceutical industries in the world. The reason for this is innovators have been afforded a period of time in which they are allowed to recoup the costs of their investments before a generic comes to market. Obama’s 2012 budget undermines this ability by calling for a decrease in the data exclusivity period, the time in which a generic manufacturer may use the innovator’s research data, for brand biologics from 12 years to 7 years.

Biologics are drugs derived from living organisms and much more complex than traditional single molecule pharmaceuticals. Biologic drugs being researched today have been proven effective against diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Research and development is very expensive (the average price of bringing a new biologic to market exceeds $1 billion) and companies need to have an incentive to keep inventing life-saving drugs.

For years, a debate was waged in Congress, not on whether to establish an approval pathway, but rather how long a data exclusivity period, should be granted. At twelve years data exclusivity, companies are just beginning to counter-balance the billions of dollars spent in investments. Denying companies enough time to gain back their investments would be extremely damaging to future innovations in this important field. The right balance needs to be struck that promotes competition and innovation. Granting a seven-year exclusivity period falls far short.

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PRA Letter Supporting "Private Property Rights Protection Act"
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 11:27 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution is holding a hearing on H.R. 1433, the "Private Property Rights Protection Act," co-sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). H.R. 1433 would suspend Federal economic development funds for a period of two fiscal years to any state that takes property through eminent domain for a private purpose. It will also allow private property owners legal recourse to fight private property takings by state and local governments that are used for private purposes.

The letter states:

As a result of the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, the government’s power of eminent domain has become almost limitless, providing victimized citizens with few means to protect their property...

Several states have independently passed legislation to limit their power to eminent domain, and the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio have barred the practice under their state constitutions. This bill will provide American citizens in every state with the means to protect their private property from exceedingly unsubstantiated claims of eminent domain...

Although many states have already acted, Congress must play a pivotal role in reforming the use and abuse of eminent domain.

Click here to read the entire letter.


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