By National Center for Public Policy Research

To show support for the promotion and protection of intellectual property rights, the National Center has joined with over 50 organizations in a coalition letter to Congress. This letter lays out the importance of IP in creating American opportunity and competitiveness.

By sharing this set of guidelines and beliefs with lawmakers, the coalition hopes to encourage Congress to show respect and vigilance for this important part of the nation’s economic engine.

In addition to the National Center, other free-market organizations that signed the letter include the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Tax Reform, Frontiers of Freedom and Independent Women’s Voice. Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH Coalition has also signed on.

Addressed to the entire 116th Congress, the letter notes that the U.S. Constitution addresses the need to protect intellectual property in Article I, Section 8. This proves the Founding Fathers’ recognition that “the best way to encourage creation and dissemination of new inventions and creative works to the benefit of both the public good and individual liberty is to recognize one’s right to his or her intellectual property.”

Pointing out that “[n]o one would say that the right to keep people out of your home is a regulation: it is a right of ownership,” signers of the letter ask that IP be recognized in the eyes of the law in the same manner as physical property. Likewise, regulatory limitations on IP should be curtailed to keep them from causing any unnecessary market friction that could hurt businesses and their investors.

Additionally, “[s]trong IP rights go hand-in-hand with free speech as creators vigorously defend their ability to create works of their choosing, free from censorship.”

The coalition notes that “IP rights create jobs and fuel economic growth, turning intangible assets into exclusive property that can be traded in the marketplace.” With that being said, there is a need to protect IP from being compromised:

By harmonizing and strengthening IP standards, Congress and the Administration incentivize creativity, innovation and investment here at home. Moreover, strong IP provisions in trade agreements allow local innovative and creative industries to flourish. Therefore, strong IP protections are integral to all trade agreement negotiations.

With a strong IP protection policy, the letter asserts, consumers are more likely to be “enable[ed]… to make educated choices about the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of their purchases.” This also applies to national security by preventing substandard materials from flowing into the defense supply chain. Protecting against IP theft, the letter notes, is a job for both the government and voluntary, good-faith acts of consumers and businesses.

And, concerning the internet:

“Protecting IP and internet freedom are both critically important and complementary—they are not mutually exclusive. 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.”

The letter was signed for the National Center by Senior Fellow Drew Johnson.

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