Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:37 am | By Kelsey Zahourek
Since its introduction in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act has stirred passionate reactions from both sides of the debate, and as soon as the House version is introduced, no doubt those debates will be rehashed. No matter what you think of legislation to go after rogue websites, let’s not forget intellectual property is a vital part of the economy and benefits society as a whole.
The proliferation of rogue websites has affected nearly every sector of our economy, from pharmaceuticals to software to manufacturing. These industries employ millions of Americans and at a time of record unemployment, we can’t afford to be putting these jobs at risk. Additionally, intellectual property industries contribute more than a third of the growth achieved by U.S. private industry, and if protections are not upheld and respected, there is less incentive for technological exploration and no catalyst for economic growth.
Its been said often but the narrative holds true, its next to impossible to compete with free. Websites that ignore IP rights undermine incentives to create cutting edge innovations, the next life-saving drugs, or new business models that make it easier to access content online.
Industries have made great strides in coming together to fight against online theft. The creation of the Copyright Alert System and efforts by companies to go after illegal online pharmacies, I believe, will yield positive results and will minimize the need for government intervention.
Not surprisingly, the protection of IP has long been a bipartisan issue because lawmakers understand what’s at stake. The problem of rogue websites is not going away anytime soon and I look forward to the continued debate on what role the government should take to defend creators’ rights. In the end, intellectual property is a constitutional right and deserves to be respected and protected, no matter what your political affiliation may be.