The Property Rights Alliance works on a number of fronts in advancing the protection of intellectual property. America has long maintained a competitive advantage in the global market when it comes to innovation and intellectual property. It is intellectual property that drives this economy to the tune of $3.5 trillion, accounting for half of all U.S. exports, and employing nearly 18 million workers. These are high wage jobs that are ensured and protected due to IP protections that allow for stability in the industry. Intellectual property protections foster growth in trade and foreign direct investment not just in the United States, but across the globe. As highlighted in the 2009 edition of the International Property Rights Index (IPRI), people in countries that protect their physical and intellectual property enjoy a GDP per capita up to nine times greater than those without legal protection.
Compulsory licenses are licenses that are granted by a government to use patents, copyrighted works or other types of intellectual property. They allow the federal government and foreign governments to intervene in the market and limit patent and other intellectual property rights in order to change market trends. Compulsory licensing affects a wide variety of industries and manufacturers, from the pharmaceutical industry to the music industry. Compulsory licensing weakens intellectual property protections. The Property Rights Alliance works to combat violation of these rights by the federal government.
File sharing and illegal downloading of copyrighted material is an easy and pervasive violation of property rights. Peer-to-peer piracy severely hurts the music, entertainment, and publishing industries. Piracy of music is exemplary of the ease with which intellectual property can be stolen and disseminated with modern technology, and it is essential that those responsible be held accountable for their actions. Through such actions as the Supreme Court Decision in MGM v. Grokster, those who create software for illegal file sharing can be prosecuted for infringing on copyright protections. Enforcing such decisions is paramount to the strength of the creative industries in the United States.
The importation of prescription drugs from other nations is intrinsically linked to intellectual property rights. After international decisions in 2003 which allow developing countries to import generic drugs for the treatment of diseases that are public health threats, property rights advocates are concerned with numerous issues involving protection of patents and international trade. Not only is the matter an issue of public health, but of flagrant violation of intellectual property rights. Congress continues to work toward infringing upon these rights, and the Property Rights Alliance aims to fight these abuses.