by Randolph J. May and Seth L. Cooper • Free State Foundation
Securing protection of American intellectual property (IP) rights internationally is an economic imperative. It is also a constitutional duty. In today’s information economy, copyrights and patent rights provide critical financial investment incentives for research and development of new products and services. And IP constitutes a potent source of economic value and prosperity. According to an official U.S. Department of Commerce report, IP-intensive industries in America generated an estimated $5 trillion in revenues in 2010 alone, providing over 27 million jobs. Since then, those figures almost certainly have grown. Another report estimated that the copyright industries alone contributed $1.1 trillion in value added to the U.S. economy and employed nearly 5.5 million workers in the U.S. in 2014.
As IP becomes increasingly vital to our nation’s wealth and prosperity, the need to ensure its protection on a global basis increases correspondingly. The American economy suffers staggering losses each year to international IP theft. According to the IP Theft Commission (2013), these losses likely exceed $300 billion annually. IP theft is an injustice to the IP owners, diminishes economic prosperity, and undermines job opportunities. Indeed, this is a reason why it is so important to conclude international trade agreements, such as the recently-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, that contain meaningful intellectual property protections. Continue reading
Frontiers of Freedom has long been a leader in protecting property rights. Our Constitution provided for property rights for physical property and for intellectual property. And with good reason. America became the world’s most innovative and economically powerful nation because our Founders grasped the importance of property rights and created a system that incentivized creativity, innovation and the productive use of such property.
Sadly, some foolishly think that property rights are old fashioned or that everything should be free. But these folks miss the point that if new innovations were free, we would see far fewer innovations. That would mean fewer new life sustaining medications, fewer new movies, less new music, and fewer new electronic devices and gadgets. Imagine if someone argued that food is so important that everyone should be able to get it free and simply walk into grocery stores and restaurants and grab whatever food they want. How long would food be available? How long before grocers and restaurants close down? That’s the point. We need to incentivize the production of the things we want and need and we need to encourage innovation.
For this reason, Frontiers of Freedom was part of a group that sent the following letter to Capitol Hill hoping to highlight the importance of intellectual property rights. Continue reading
Frontiers of Freedom is a strong supporter of property rights (including intellectual property rights). Property rights encourage individuals and businesses to innovate and invest in new ideas and technologies. We all win when property rights are respected. So where can you find your favorite movies and shows online and be sure that they are not illegal pirated copies?
The Motion Picture Association of America has launched a new search engine called “Where To Watch” (WhereToWatch.com). This new tool gives consumers a free, simple, and comprehensive way to search every known legitimate platform for movies and TV shows. No more searching 35 different places to find what you’re looking for. It is all at one simple-to-use website. And its free. We encourage everyone to use this tool. Not only will you protect yourself from unsavory and illegal websites that plant viruses on your computer and invade your privacy, but you’ll be supporting and encouraging your favorite artists, actors and film studios to continue making the entertainment that you love. Continue reading
A recent study conducted by NetNames found that in one month alone more than 430 million unique Internet users sought or downloaded copyright infringing music, movies, book, and other materials. This industrial scale theft chills creativity, innovation and investment by depriving creators of a market based return on their investments.. So how do these cyber-thieves steal music, movies, books, and other materials? One tool that is growing in popularity is the shadowy cyberlocker which is designed to sell, not store stolen content.
With so much attention to the “cloud” in today’s online world, it is important that we distinguish between the legitimate cloud storage services like DropBox, Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud, to name only a few. These services allow consumers to store, share, backup, and access data. The so-called cyberlocker business model is very different. Cyberlockers incent users to upload stolen files that are copyrighted and which they have no right to distribute, and then profit by selling subscriptions and advertising. The fact that they pay nothing for the product they sell allows them to enjoy profit margins approaching 90%.
The cyberlocker model is predicated on theft and distribution of stolen property. Continue reading
by Mark Schultz & Adam Mossoff • TechPolicyDaily.com
A handful of increasingly noisy critics of intellectual property (IP) have emerged within free market organizations. Both the emergence and vehemence of this group has surprised most observers, since free market advocates generally support property rights. It’s true that there has long been a strain of IP skepticism among some libertarian intellectuals. However, the surprised observer would be correct to think that the latest critique is something new. In our experience, most free market advocates see the benefit and importance of protecting the property rights of all who perform productive labor – whether the results are tangible or intangible.
How do the claims of this emerging critique stand up? We have had occasion to examine the arguments of free market IP skeptics before. (For example, see here, here, here.) So far, we have largely found their claims wanting. Continue reading
“Copyright law has historically protected the right of the creator to exclusively distribute their work. This is important because it gives creators the ability to profit from their creation which incentivizes creativity and promotes “the Progress of Science and useful Arts” as contemplated by the Founders in the Constitution.
“In 1908, a limited exception – known as the “first sale doctrine” – was established to a copyright owner’s exclusive right to distribute his work. This exception allowed consumers to sell physical objects that contained copyrighted material. This is why it is legal to resell books, DVDs and CDs. Continue reading
And why individual creators of content are now having such a difficult time protecting their work-product.
This video of recording artist Maria Schneider testifying before Congress explaining how difficult it is to protect her work and the real costs of piracy is compelling.
One of the most important parts of the Constitution is one of the least recognized. While American’s appreciate the importance of free speech and free elections, few realize that America may well have become the world’s unmatched economic superpower because the Founders wisely authorized Congress to protect intellectual property rights. This, in turn, provided the incentive to innovate and create. Continue reading
Internet piracy has become a big business. It has also become more sophisticated in the way it steals. Rather than selling the music and movies of others, often they provide it for free and use the increased internet traffic to obtain surprising advertising revenues. This allows the pirate to claim he isn’t selling anything. But he makes a handsome profit stealing the property of others — movies, music, books, etc. According to a recent study by the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA), in 2013, these piracy sites reaped an estimated quarter billion — with a B — dollars in advertising revenue. Even small piracy sites can pull in over $100,000 a year in advertising revenue and it is almost all profit.
Some might think that this is great news — free music and movies for everyone! But the truth is this theft harms everyone. Everyone you ask? Yes! Everyone, except maybe the pirate. Here’s why. You and I go to work because we hope to receive a paycheck. If we learned that there would be no paycheck, we would not show up. If we learned that we would only be paid for every other hour we worked, we would likely only be willing to work every other hour. Continue reading
by Peter Roff
Intellectual property pirates operating in the open waters of cyberspace managed to pull down more than $250 million in 2013 by selling ad space on sites selling counterfeit goods, the Digital Citizens Alliance reported in a study released Tuesday. “The 30 largest sites that profit exclusively from advertising dollars by pushing stolen movies, music, and television programs will each make more than $4 million dollars a year for the ‘work,’” the DCA concluded in “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business.”
Any way you slice it, $4 million a year is real money. That it comes from ad sales alone should have heads turning, because those ads are being posted on sites that exist solely to allow people to buy things that are manufactured, duplicated, reproduced, knocked off and in every other sense of the term “rip offs,” meaning that it is only what DCA Executive Director Tom Galvin called “the tip of the iceberg.” Continue reading
One of the most important parts of the Constitution is one of the least recognized. While American’s appreciate the importance of free speech and free elections, few realize that America may well have become the world’s unmatched economic superpower because the Founders wisely authorized Congress to protect intellectual property rights. This, in turn, provided the incentive to innovate and create.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries….” With this under-appreciated constitutional provision, the Founders made the U.S. the engine of innovation that drove technological, economic, and medical advances for the entire world. Continue reading
In late July, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing to examine the role played by copyright law in spurring American innovation. It’s long overdue.
The rise of the digital age has made it too easy for people with malicious intent to profit from the creativity of others without providing appropriate compensation. It’s up to the marketplace to determine what that compensation should be, not the government. Nevertheless, the president and Congress both have a constitutional obligation to make sure that the products of a man’s mind receive the same commercial protection as what some refer to as real property. Continue reading
The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787 — more than 225 years ago. That is long enough ago that it is easy to take for granted the rights protected by the Constitution. If given a chance to reflect, what constitutionally protected rights do Americans think are the most fundamental to our freedom? I conducted an informal poll, asking this question. The answer came almost universally—free speech and press. Both of these liberties form a part of the foundation upon which our freedom is based. But they are not the cornerstone of our freedom.
So, what is the cornerstone of the freedom that America has enjoyed for more than 225 years? It is found in our rights to property – our economic rights. The right to own and control one’s property, the fruits of one’s labor, and one’s inventions and creations is the cornerstone of our freedom. Why, you ask? How can the right to own something be more important than free speech? The answer is simple. Without property rights, no other important right can long survive. Property rights are the rich and fertile soil in which all other rights can grow and mature. Continue reading