Improving Intellectual Property Rights through Global Cooperation
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:26 pm | By Katerina Bricker

In Tokyo last week, 37 countries met to discuss the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The agreement would increase efforts against theft of intellectual property, support high enforcement standards against piracy, and also accompany existing rules that are already in effect under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.The finalized document is 24 pages long and if you click HERE, you can read it in its entirety.

Strong intellectual property enforcement is key to long-term economic growth and prosperity. Intellectual property rights can boost trade and foreign investment dramatically, but first, global piracy and counterfeiting must be stopped or significantly reduced for the economies of developed and developing nations to thrive. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, “This text reflects tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy – a global crime wave that robs workers in the United States and around the world of good-paying jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous products.”

ACTA does not provide governments with every answer on how to tackle IP infringement, but it does help with the very important job of finding solutions to this global problem. This is a milestone in the fight to protect intellectual property rights worldwide reached by 37 other countries including the United States, the 27 EU member states, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, and Morocco. While this agreement does not include some of the biggest IP offenders, including China, this is a step in the right direction.

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Decreasing Piracy Stimulates Economy
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:24 pm | By Katerina Bricker

A recent study released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) solidifies the argument that reducing software piracy boosts economic growth. The study included 42 countries which own 93 percent of the world’s PC software currently in use. Click HERE to view the original pdf file of BSA’s publication. You can also click HERE for the study in brief.

In the study it states that the faster we reduce piracy, the greater the economic impact the reduction will have. An example given in the study goes as follows: if you were to reduce the piracy rate in the US by 10 percentage points in two years it would add more than $52 billion to the country’s GDP by 2013. It would also boost US tax revenues by more than $8 billion.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) says that lowering piracy by 10 points, on average, per country in four years will deliver many benefits, such as, 500,000 new high-tech jobs, more than $142 billion in new spending, and around $32 billion in new tax revenues.
The BSA gives an outline on reducing software piracy:
1.      Increase Public education & awareness
2.      Implement the WIPO Copyright Treaty
3.      Create Strong and Workable Enforcement Mechanisms as Required by TRIPS (Strong copyright laws are essential)
4.      Step up enforcement
5.      Lead by example (governments actively managing their own software assets and sending a clear message that they will not tolerate piracy)
The downside of software is the more it grows the more it infringes on intellectual property (IP) protection. If we do not protect IP then incentives for technological innovation fades away. If we protect IP then technology will accelerate and thus the economy will continue to move forward. 
We all want a better economy. So why wouldn’t we want to reduce piracy? Take action in your own lives and buy your software, don’t rely on that friend to let you “borrow” their version.

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Stopping Digital Parasites
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 10:04 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

This week Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.” I applaud Senator Leahy and the bills co-sponsors, Senators Evan Bayh, Richard Durbin, Orrin Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, Herb Kohl, Charles Schumer, Arlen Specter, George Voinovich, and Sheldon Whitehouse for taking a much needed step to ensure that websites and domain names which facilitate and profit from the illegal distribution of intellectual property are shut down before any further infringement can take place.

American industries that rely on intellectual property rights employ over 18 million people and account for over $5 trillion of U.S. gross domestic product. The entertainment industry is perhaps the most visible victim of online infringement through illegal music downloads and video streaming, but there are other industries, including pharmaceuticals, machinery, and clothing that rely on the protection of intellectual property rights in order to not only thrive, but survive.

In a statement, Senator Hatch elaborated on the need for such legislative action:

“In today’s global economy the internet has become the glue of international commerce –- connecting consumers with a wide array of products and services worldwide. But it’s also become a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property.”

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