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Introduction of the "Fortifying America's Intellectual Property Rights (FAIR) Act"

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Location: Washington, DC

INTRODUCTION OF THE "FORTIFYING AMERICA'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (FAIR) ACT"-HON. ADAM B. SCHIFF (Extensions of Remarks - September 21, 2004)

HON. ADAM B. SCHIFF
OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce, with my colleague Representative GOODLATTE, the "Fortifying America's Intellectual Property Rights (FAIR) Act"-legislation that we have worked on for some time now, to make a number of important reforms to strengthen our fight against the scourge of global piracy.

International markets are vital to U.S. intellectual property industries, providing a strong export base that sustains American jobs. However, this important sector of the U.S. economy is under attack due to widespread patent and trademark infringement, and the unauthorized reproduction, distribution and sale of U.S.-made movies, music, software, and other creative works.

The United States is the world's largest creator, producer and exporter of copyrighted materials, accounting for over 5 percent of the U.S. GDP and adding $531 billion to the U.S. economy. The motion picture industry estimates losses due to global piracy amount to $3.5 billion annually, not including illegal downloading. In Russia, for example, 9 out of 10 DVDs sold are counterfeit copies. Globally, 2 in 5 music recordings are pirate copies, with annual world-wide pirate sales of music estimated at $4-$5 billion. The software industry estimates losses of over $13 billion due to worldwide piracy in 2002.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has been charged with identifying countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights. The negotiation of bilateral free trade agreements has proven to be an excellent mechanism for achieving legally binding bilateral obligations to address rampant international copyright piracy.

These efforts have been undertaken with only very limited resources available, and could be more effective if additional tools and resources are provided. The legislation I am introducing today with Representative GOODLATTE will make a number of reforms in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Specifically, our legislation will establish a new USTR office dedicated exclusively to intellectual property matters, increase the resources dedicated to securing high standards of intellectual property rights protection in trade agreements and enforcing these provisions vigorously, and establish this as the lead office in the Administration for all international trade-related intellectual property matters.

The protection of our intellectual property rights abroad is vital to promoting America's competitive advantages in world commerce. As our trade deficit continues to soar, Congress must step in now to ensure that we aggressively protect our intellectual property rights at home and abroad.

END

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