With December’s poor employment numbers, creating jobs is on everyone’s mind in Washington; yet one area for reform, digital piracy, is constantly overlooked. In this Huffington Post blog, ITIF Senior Analyst Daniel Castro outlines why digital theft is too often not taken seriously and how piracy impacts the U.S. economy.
Steal These Policies: Strategies for Reducing Digital Piracy
It is time for the U.S. government to take global theft of U.S. intellectual property, especially digital content, much more seriously. A new ITIF report finds that the U.S. government can and should do more to support industry efforts to reduce digital piracy, a growing problem that threatens not only the robust production of digital content, but U.S. jobs. While there are no “silver bullets” to reducing digital piracy, there are a number of “lead bullets” that can and should be implemented. Specifically, ITIF calls on the federal government to not preclude those impacted by digital piracy, including copyright holders and ISPs, from taking steps, including implementing technical controls like digital fingerprinting, to reduce piracy. In addition, industry and government should consider bold steps to limit the revenue streams of those profiting from piracy by encouraging ISPs, search engines, ad networks and credit card companies to block piracy websites and refuse to do business with them. These options should be part of a broad dialogue that engages all stakeholders, including government, content owners, website operators, technology developers, and ISPs and other intermediaries, on how to improve the global response to piracy. Toward that end, this report recommends that policymakers:
- Support, rather than impede, anti-piracy innovation, including the development of new technical means.
- Encourage coordinated industry action to take steps to fight digital piracy, such as ISP implementation of graduated response systems.
- More actively pursue international frameworks and action to protect intellectual property, including digital content.
Combating Unfair Trade Practices in the Innovation Economy
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, ITIF President Rob Atkinson described the growing array of mercantilist trade policies that nations have enacted to unfairly disadvantage foreign – including U.S. – technology products. This new wave of protectionism, which is designed to unfairly erode U.S. technology leadership, includes a range of policies – from discriminatory taxes and tariffs to efforts to block market access – that run counter to the spirit of mutually-beneficial free trade. To combat these practices, Atkinson expressed support for the Trade Enforcement Act of 2007 currently under consideration, and argued further for the enactment of a 25 percent tax credit for corporate expenditures related to bringing WTO cases to fight mercantilist practices. Stronger trade enforcement promises not only to help American workers and firms, but also ensures that the United States continues to lead the world in supporting an international free trade regime that will bring robust and sustainable prosperity, both domestically and abroad.