Monday, April 20, 2009

Copyright owners and advocates appeal to Obama; hail economic value of creative industries

A coalition of copyright owners, unions, trade associations, and think tanks has written a letter to President Obama, hailing the value of IP-dependent industries in creating jobs and "driv[ing] innovation and creativity" in this troubled economy. The letter is a direct response to an April 2 letter from a coalition of groups on the opposite end of the copyright policy spectrum, expressing chagrin over the numerous administration appointments of attorneys who previously represented copyright owners while in private practice. The pro-copyright letter does not request specific action, instead stressing the economic importance of IP:
Enforcement of copyrights and patents and protecting the freedom to create and be compensated for it are essential components of promoting the progress of sciences and arts, as articulated so clearly by our Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution, when they enumerated it expressly among the powers granted to Congress. Indeed, the “Progress Clause” is the only place in which the word “right” occurs in the unamended Constitution. Similarly, enforcement of trademarks protects consumers while providing incentives to create better products.

The authors of the April 2 letter would have you believe that you must choose between safeguarding IP protection on the one hand and promoting innovation on the other. This supposed conflict is itself an invention, and we must avoid the false dichotomy that suggests that there is a conflict between the rights of authors and inventors and the need for innovation or creativity. Intellectual property drives innovation and creativity, from the production of new creative works to the development of consumer electronics and medicine.

All of these products of creative minds in the United States are valued the world over and make an outsized contribution to our balance of trade. Research by Public Policy Professor Richard Florida concluded that the creative industries, including copyright and patent industries, employ 38 million U.S. workers and that those workers’ annual wages and salaries total more than those of the manufacturing and service sectors combined. Simply put, intellectual property is the engine of the U.S. economy.
Signatories include: Advertising Photographers of America; American Federation of Musicians; American Federation of Television & Radio Artists; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; American Society of Media Photographers; American Society of Picture Professionals; Arts+Labs; Association of American Publishers; Association of American University Presses; Broadcast Music, Inc.; Business Software Alliance; Center for the Study of Digital Property at The Progress & Freedom Foundation; Church Music Publishers Association-Action Fund, Inc.; Copyright Alliance; Directors Guild of America; Entertainment Software Association; Graphic Artists Guild; Independent Film & Television Alliance; Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers; Magazine Publishers of America; Motion Picture Association of America; NBC Universal; National Music Publishers’ Association; News Corporation; Picture Archive Council of America; Professional Photographers of America; Property Rights Alliance; Recording Industry Association of America; Reed Elsevier; Screen Actors Guild; SESAC; Software & Information Industry Association; Songwriters Guild of America; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Time Warner, Inc.; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Viacom; The Walt Disney Company; and Writers Guild of America, West.

More from the Copyright Alliance here and here.

1 comment:

  1. Ben,

    Thanks for bringing attention to the letter, I was honored to be associated with it. I handed out copies over the weekend at the Picture Archive Council of America meeting in Chicago where I was speaking (PACA is a Copyright Alliance member and a signatory of the letter). These are honest, hard-working people who license copyrighted works all day, and they were thrilled to know people were standing up for them.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.