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The United States has long been at the forefront of intellectual property protections and so it is no surprise that the copyright industries – movies, television programming, music, books, video games and computer software – are so successful and are so crucial to our national economy. According to recent estimates core copyright industries employ over 5 million Americans in jobs that paid 27 percent more than the average wage. These industries remain some of our most internationally competitive, collectively ranking as the second largest exporting sector in the U.S, which is important as we work to get our economy back on track.
Unfortunately, as American companies and innovators continue to expand in foreign markets, they face a serious and debilitating threat from international piracy. Piracy denies those individuals who have invested in the creation and production of these goods their proper return, thereby undermining creativity and innovation and costing businesses hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Widespread piracy, particularly in countries like China and Russia, is certainly taking its toll on our copyright industries.
In China alone, the piracy rates for software are estimated at a whopping 77 percent, with unlicensed software reaching a commercial value of nearly $9 billion annually. In addition to the blatant stealing of copyrighted works, the Chinese government has taken to offering Chinese patents on innovations that were actually made by others. Recently, it was revealed that a Chinese company was selling the GooPhone i5, a supposed iPhone 5 clone. This same company also sells a clone of the Samsung Galaxy smartphone. This kind of piracy continues to inflict severe harm not only to American creators but to Chinese creators as well.
While the United States is the world’s leader in intellectual property protections, we simply cannot rely on that alone. We must encourage other countries around the globe to enact and enforce strong intellectual property laws in order to fully protect America’s inventors and authors, as well as their own.
The U.S. copyright industries have created millions of high-skilled, high-paying U.S. jobs and have contributed billions to our economy, including right here in the Sixth Congressional District with companies like Rosetta Stone and R.R. Donnelly. It is extremely important to protect this vibrant sector of the U.S. economy so that it continues to prosper and serve as a catalyst for our economic recovery. As Co-Chairman of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, I remain committed to enacting strong copyright laws and the vigilant enforcement of those laws to ensure that writers, musicians and other creators and distributors are compensated for the creative work that they do so that America continues to be the world leader in innovation.