Calls For IP Czar Gather Momentum in Congress

ip-czar.pngEarlier, UsefulArts reported on the PRO-IP legislation passed in the House this past May that seeks to create an Intellectual Property czar as a direct report to the President. Corporate America is pushing for an IP Czar to coordinate among many federal agencies and departments, such as State Department, Justice Department and the Patent & Trademark Office.

Senator Leahy (D-VT) is crafting legislation that will likely include a call for an IP Czar, and Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH) have introduced a bill that explicitly calls for a copyright czar. Not to be left out, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is has a bill intended to address counterfeit goods using customs agents. Hatch estimates counterfeit goods cost the U.S. economy 750,000 jobs and $250 billion annually.

According to BusinessWeek:

Trouble is, the coordinator oversees a budget of about $1 million and his National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council functions under the auspices of the Commerce Dept., not the White House. “The current structures have not produced the needed levels of coordination and leadership,” says Rick Cotton, general counsel for NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric (GE) and Vivendi. “Counterfeiting and piracy severely undercut future growth of the U.S. economy. Our current enforcement efforts are inadequate.”

Since America is unable or unwilling to manufacture anything these days, it increasingly relies on selling intellectual property in its various forms, from music to movies to drugs. It’s this current and projected reliance that has propelled IP to a top-priority for Congress. With no doubt matchng sizeable campaign contributions by the “industry leaders”.

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