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.
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.
The Founder’s understood that by incentivizing innovation and creativity, you get more of it. But to do that, you must have a system that allows those who create and innovate to profit from their creations and innovations. If competitors are allowed to effectively steal the plans for the iPhone and manufacture and sell it, Apple would have no incentive to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in future breakthrough technologies –– knowing they would spend millions so that someone else could steal it and profit from it. Likewise, if others are allowed to steal, copy and distribute the latest hit movie, movie makers have little incentive to invest millions in the next great movie.
Whether it is the development of new miracle drugs that cure deadly diseases, or blockbuster movies that entertain and inspire millions, or new super fast computer chips that power devices that enrich our lives, America is the engine of innovation and creativity that powers not only our economy, but powers the world’s economic advances. All of this was made possible because the Founders had the foresight to enshrine in the Constitution the idea that intellectual property rights matter to all of us and can be an engine for economic growth and progress which benefits all of us.