The Next Great Copyright Act


By Brian Noyes

This week, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the House Judiciary Intellectual Property subcommittee will begin what is likely to be a multi-year review of U.S. copyright law. As a leading voice in the business community, the Chamber welcomes the discussion regarding the value intellectual property has added both in economic terms with high paying jobs, and for consumers by providing access to amazing new innovations from the creative industry.

Since the last comprehensive review of copyright law concluded in 1976, America has launched even farther ahead as the world leader in knowledge-based and innovative economies. Current U.S. copyright law has delivered amazing benefits which continue to drive innovation.

The companies who lead in developing content have also led in developing new technologies to enhance, distribute, and provide access to these creations. They are also leaders in providing decent wages, driving economic development and employing millions of Americans from every corner of the country.

In fact, just recently the Department of Commerce recognized that the contribution of resource-intensive copyright industries have been underreported in U.S. gross domestic product figures over the years and will now revise decades of official economic figures.

Copyright also fuels another element of the very fabric of American being- the First Amendment. Artists and creators alike have been at the forefront of exercising and testing the limits of free speech. Technological advances and our online connectivity have only amplified the reach of freedom of expression. This is a truth that is self-evident.

Another truth which is self-evident is that as creativity, technology, and the economy evolve, the fundamentals of the Founders’ Constitutional design remain the same:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Indeed, this Thursday’s Judiciary hearing will be the first of many, and our hope would be that as the conversations continue, the process would also include an official review of the economic impact copyright companies have in the U.S. and the number of jobs they create. We look forward to the review and discussion on the value copyright brings to the U.S. economy.

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