July 16, 2012
Tell The Obama Administration How IP Should Be Enforced
The government is reaching out to the public (remember, corporations are people too) for comments on how to shape intellectual property enforcement (Development of the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement). The announcement came on the White House web site on June 25. The comment period ends on July 25. As of now there are only 36 comments with most of them by citizens rather than the intellectual property industries that have captivated Congress for so long. Anyone who has any interest in legislative trends (SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP, etc.) now has the opportunity to make their ideas heard.
The Notice requesting comment also has this bit of text:
Submissions directed at the economic costs resulting from enforcement of intellectual property rights must clearly identify: (1) the type of intellectual property protection at issue, e.g., trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret or other (2) the methodology used in calculating the estimated costs and any critical assumptions relied upon, (3) identify the source of the data on which the cost estimates are based, and (4) provide a copy of, or a citation to, each such source of information.
That might explain why there isn’t comment by the RIAA, MPAA, et al. Most every estimate of monetary and job losses from these organizations that has appeared in congressional reports justifying legislation seems to come from sources that could not be verified. Repeating the numbers over and over again tends to give them a semblance of truth, even if that is not the case. Just ask the GAO, who said this in its report Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, GAO-10-423, Apr 12, 2010:
Three widely cited U.S. government estimates of economic losses resulting from counterfeiting cannot be substantiated due to the absence of underlying studies. Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data. Efforts to estimate losses involve assumptions such as the rate at which consumers would substitute counterfeit for legitimate products, which can have enormous impacts on the resulting estimates. Because of the significant differences in types of counterfeited and pirated goods and industries involved, no single method can be used to develop estimates. Each method has limitations, and most experts observed that it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.
Here is a chance for members of the library community to let the government know what he or she thinks on the issue. [MG]