Groups Send Pro-IP Letter to Congress

An open letter supporting intellectual property was sent today to the 114th Congress.  The majority of its signatories are conservative political organizations, which is reflective of the now-Republican majority in both houses; but the letter is also signed by several left-leaning organizations as well as academics representing non-partisan study groups and think tanks.  Titled Intellectual Property Guidelines, the letter briefly outlines a rationale for the new congress to support and maintain strong IP protections, emphasizing the following eight premises:

  • IP Rights Are Grounded in the Constitution
  • IP Rights Are a Fundamental Property Right Deserving the Same Respect as Physical Property
  • IP Rights Promote Free Speech and Expression
  • IP Rights Are Vital to Economic Competitiveness
  • IP Rights Must Be Protected Internationally Through Effective IP Provisions in Trade Agreements
  • IP Rights Are Integral to Consumer Protection and National Security
  • IP Rights Must Be Respected and Protected on the Internet
  • Voluntary Initiatives to Address IP Theft Are Positive

It’s too short a letter to warrant a summary, but I will quote one statement about the Internet, which reads, “A truly free Internet, like any truly free community, is one where people can engage in legitimate activities safely, and where bad actors are held accountable.”  This is consistent with the post I just wrote about accountability, arguing that if we too eagerly embrace the anarchy of digital life, this only leads to mob rule, and mob rule only leads to some form of tyranny.

There isn’t a lot of bi-partisan support for much these days, but over the few years since I have been paying attention to these issues, the fundamental principles of Intellectual Property rights appear to maintain support among most Americans across the political spectrum.  The basic concept that any individual may own the fruit of his or her intellectual labor, that it does not belong to the mob regardless of changes in technology, still seems to resonate with conservatives and liberals alike.  And that is certainly encouraging.

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