White House Encourages Greater Intellectual Property Enforcement
A report released Thursday by the office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) provides an update on the White House's efforts to address online piracy and other problems facing American businesses. It highlights areas applicable to the entertainment industry such as removing counterfeit products from the marketplace, strengthening enforcement through international organizations and raising public awareness.
"Over the next three years, we will continue to work to ensure that standards, procurement, and regulatory policies of foreign countries do not unfairly exclude or prejudice innovative or creative American products and services," the report reads. "We hope that Congress acts on the Administration’s remaining legislative recommendations from the 2011 White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement and on any further recommendations we deliver in the future."
“The White House has laid out a sensible and practical approach to protecting the Constitutional rights of America’s creative community," said RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman in a statement. "Our voluntary, marketplace efforts with various partners in the Internet ecosystem – such as ISPs, payment processors and advertisers – have shown such pacts are possible and can make a real difference."
David Israelite, President and CEO of the NMPA, called the IPEC report "particularly welcome." "We applaud Ms. Espinel’s ongoing effort to strengthen American copyright and ensure created works from music to software is valued and treated with respect consistently within our borders and beyond," he said in a statement. "Her belief that copyright policies and protections be inclusive and developed collaboratively benefits industries, businesses and ultimately our economy.”
Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, notes that seven of the recommendations made in the 2011 white paper are now law, although none of these laws are related to the entertainment industry. Most of the laws deal with counterfeit drugs and economic espionage. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), proposed legislation that would have expanded law enforcement's ability to reduce copyright infringement, failed due to strong opposition from technology companies and the public.
IPEC has positively impacted the entertainment industry by facilitating private industry agreements, however. U.S. Internet service providers now have a voluntary agreement with movie studios and record labels to reduce piracy through the Copyright Alert System. Credit card companies have established best practices for withdrawing payment services from web sites that deal in counterfeit goods.
The music industry also wants help with the prominence of illegal music sites in search results. Sherman said the White House recognizes that search engines need to be part of the same conversation between private parties. But he called the ranking of rogue websites in search results "a real problem" and "policymakers expect real progress" on the issue.