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Issue Position: Intellectual Property Rights

Issue Position

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Howard believes that robust protection of intellectual property and prevention of copyright theft protects local investments and creates jobs. The Chamber of Commerce has noted that America's IP-intensive industries employ more than 19 million workers--at all educational and skill levels. From 2000 to 2007, the annual salary of all workers in IP-intensive industries averaged about 60% more than for similar workers in non-IP-intensive industries.

IP-intensive industries account for approximately 60% of total U.S. exports--rising from $665 billion in 2000 to $910 billion in 2007.

In 2008, U.S. intellectual property companies in the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors generated nearly $7.7 trillion in gross output, accounting for 33.1% of total U.S. GDP. According to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the effects of intellectual property theft are particularly acute in California as California's economy loses $34 billion a year due to piracy and counterfeiting. (California Chamber of Commerce. (2009, September 15). CalChamber Urges Support of Funding to Enforce Federal Anti-Counterfeiting Act). Since his first day in Congress, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that the creative community -- from stagehands to writers to actors to sound engineers to musicians -- are adequately compensated for their work and contributions to America's economy.

In the 110th Congress, while Chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee, Howard worked with members on both side of the aisle to get the Pro-IP Act passed in Congress and signed by the President. This bill provided greater coordination between the multiple agencies in government which handle IP enforcement by creating a position for Intellectual Property Enforcement coordinator which also provided a more effective way to use limited resources to protect intellectual property.

Furthermore, he worked diligently to pass S.167, a bill that criminalized the use of camcorders in theaters and penalized the unauthorized pre-release of movies. This bill aimed at ensuring theater owners maintained a viable business and that the value of audiovisual works would not be harmed by premature distribution.

He introduced legislation to provide adequate compensation to copyright owners, artists and musicians for music played over the air on radio -- not only on the internet and satellite platforms.

In 2004, Howard partnered with Republican Congressman Lamar Smith to pass the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act to streamline the process for determining and distributing royalties under statutory licenses, including satellite and cable TV. He has also worked to streamline the ability to create different ways to obtain licenses, and simplified the payment systems. In 2009, he helped broker a deal between Pandora and the copyright owners. Some of his early but noteworthy work includes the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which ensured content was adequately safeguarded, and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which provided greater protection for the copyright term.

Howard, from his top position on the Foreign Affairs Committee, has also strived to increase intellectual property rights protection from international infringement and piracy. He has engaged heavily with Administration and foreign representatives about steps that can be taken to address the rampant piracy problem in both Russia and China and even Canada. He's successfully worked with the Ambassador from the Bahamas to ensure U.S. content owners get market price for their product.


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