New Study: IP Theft Will Cost EU Economy 1.2 million jobs
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A new study released today by the International Chamber of Commerce's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), predicts job losses due to piracy to reach as high as 1.2 million and €240 billion ($327 billion) in lost retail revenue by 2015 for the European Union. The study is another clear indication that when protected ideas are stolen, people suffer. As such, more must be done to address the jobs-killing crime of copyright theft.
The good news is we have a remarkable opportunity to enhance international cooperation among nearly forty countries--who together drive over 50% of global trade--by establishing a meaningful and effective framework for the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights. This can be done through the completion this year of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a plurilateral agreement that will build on international norms without changing U.S. law, and result in more effective enforcement of IP rights with our largest trading partners.
Last week, President Obama made this very point. In his speech before the Export-Import Bank, the President highlighted the important role IP plays in our economic recovery and singled out the need for a strong ACTA to raise the bar on enforcement, improve cooperation among partners, and harmonize our efforts in confronting IP theft.
President Obama isn't the only voice of support for the protection of IP. Congress has long been an advocate for strong IP rights, understanding the critical role that innovation and creativity play in America's economy. After all, IP-based industries employ over 18 million Americans, account for more than $5 trillion of the nation's GDP, drive more than half of all our exports, and represent 40 percent of U.S. economic growth. Since America's future growth and competitiveness increasingly depend on our intellectual property--much like in Europe--it is critical that we defend the IP rights that both incentivize and protect America's inventors, artists, creators and entrepreneurs.
So it's no surprise that the BASCAP study empirically demonstrates the link between the protection of intellectual property and jobs that we all intuitively understand. And when the White House, Congress, labor and business all come together to support the same issue, it must mean something. This study makes the case that increased efforts to protect people's inventions and support creative ownership are essential to sustain long-term economic growth and protect jobs. While the BASCAP study accounts for the affected European industries, the impact of digital piracy in the U.S. on economic growth and jobs is just as severe.
An October 2007 study estimating the economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy found that the U.S. motion picture, sound recording, business software, and entertainment software/video game industries lost over $20 billion dollars in 2005 due to piracy. Content industries are increasingly important to the U.S. economy as a whole, representing more than 11% of the GDP and more than 8% of the U.S. workforce. In fact, they are growing at a rate that is twice that of the U.S. economy as a whole. Thus, proactive policies to curb Internet piracy and supporting the ACTA are absolutely necessary to ensure our continued economic recovery.
Recognizing the vital role innovation, creativity, and IP rights play in America's economic growth and competitiveness, the GIPC has proposed to the Congress and the White House an aggressive IP agenda stressing the need for fighting digital piracy. New online technologies and Internet access greatly benefit the global economy and enable consumer access to a growing range of goods and services. As referenced with the BASCAP study, however, these innovations--when misused--have also fueled an explosion in IP theft, which undermines sectors of our economy that have historically provided secure, high-paying jobs.
Supporting vibrant and innovative creative industries are essential to our economic livelihood. The BASCAP research suggests that it's not just European companies being affected by the global tide of online piracy. Jobs are being lost all over the world as a result of IP theft, and efforts to bring us out of this global economic crisis are dampened by actions that severely harm our creative industries. Collectively, these efforts hinge in large measure on America's first-ever National IP Strategy, a congressional-mandated plan by the White House that we expect to be presented this summer. The Chamber and its members look forward to working with the Administration on this strategy, and other IP issues that promote innovation and creativity, as essential elements of any effort to create jobs, protect consumers, and improve our economy.