New Study Shows Consumers Support Protecting IP

By Ashley Mergen

Newsflash: intellectual property isn’t just for intellectuals. The innovations and creations born from intellectual property rights affect every one of our daily lives. It’s in our cars, our televisions, our computers –the list goes on. IP-intensive industries also support the jobs of 40 million Americans, making the likelihood that you or your neighbor’s paycheck depends on copyrights, trademarks, or patents pretty high.

But do people really know what IP is? The connection between patents and paychecks or trademarks and safety may seem abstract, but according to a new study, the average Joe understands that intellectual property is worth protecting.

Yesterday, the American Consumer Institute (ACI) released a survey measuring what consumers think about IP theft, from counterfeited goods to pirated content. The results are pretty overwhelming:

  • 86% of U.S. citizens believe that protecting IP is a good way to encourage innovation and creativity;
  • 89% see the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods as negatively affecting American jobs and 90% believe that it is bad for the U.S. economy;
  • 91% support the U.S. government’s role in stopping online corporate espionage, such as the online theft of trade secrets;
  • 91% support strong enforcement of laws to protect against the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods;
  • 81% support efforts to include IP provisions in international trade agreements;
  • 85% agree that it is important to provide adequate funding for law enforcement efforts to stop counterfeit goods from reaching the U.S. market;
  • 83% want stronger criminal penalties to combat the online sale of these and other counterfeit products;
  • 76% of U.S. citizens said they would like to be notified by their ISP if they unknowingly download illegally copied content.

Results like these shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. As ACI puts it: “Now it is up to policymakers to support solutions that are effective, and not burdensome, in protecting consumers and the economy from IP theft.”

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