June 23, 2010

Feds Announce New Anti-piracy Initiative

The United States unveiled a broad new strategy on Tuesday to protect intellectual property such as music, movies and other goods from being pirated, promising to challenge foreign governments that fail to address the matter.

"Piracy hurts, it hurts our economy," said Vice President Joe Biden as he released the 61-page plan.

"It hurts our health and safety. We need to protect our citizens from unsafe products (such as) counterfeit pharmaceuticals," he said as unveiled the new proposal, which was drafted by several U.S. government agencies.

The plan involves a crack down on websites that permit illegal downloads of music or movies, and will "lead by example" in curtailing the use of pirated software or goods at home.

Biden said the plan would "shine a light" on governments that fail to confront piracy.

Victoria Espinel, coordinator of the intellectual property task force, said the U.S. would keep a watchful eye on China for copyright and patent protection.

China has long stood out for its failure to crack down on piracy of music, software and other products.

"We will initiate a comprehensive review of current efforts in support of US businesses that have difficulty enforcing their intellectual property rights in overseas markets, with a particular focus on China," the AFP news agency quoted Espinel as saying.

The new plan highlights U.S. efforts to protect American products and service from piracy, citing a variety of susceptible items such as software, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, movies and music.

"Piracy is theft, clean and simple, it's smash and grab," said Biden.

"Theft in every culture should be punished, and intellectual property is no different."

The new initiative was developed by a several U.S. government agencies, including the departments of Justice, State, Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services in conjunction with the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative's office, the AFP reported.

The proposal represents a heightened effort to clamp down on fraudulent or illegally copied items ranging from medicines to bulletproof vests and auto parts.

"Whether we are talking about fake Kevlar vests... or a bolt that fails on an airplane engine, we cannot afford to purchase fake goods. This is not just about the new Robin Hood movie," Biden said.

"Perhaps our greatest export"¦is America's creative impulse... and criminals are working every day, every day to steal it."

Americans "need to feel confident that they can invest in new innovation and intellectual property, knowing it will be safe from theft. Ensuring that our ideas and ingenuity are protected helps us create jobs and increase our exports," Espinel said.


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