September 20, 2010

U.S. Chamber Commends Senate Introduction of Legislation to Shut Down Rogue Websites

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today commended Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for introducing “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” legislation that will crack down on websites that primarily engage in online piracy and counterfeiting. Specifically, this measure will provide an enhanced legal tool against what are known as “rogue websites,” which operate illegally and adversely impact the American economy while putting consumers’ health and safety at risk. These rogue sites are blatantly engaged in the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and fake consumer goods, as well as the theft of books, movies, sports broadcasts, and more. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Evan Bayh, Richard Durbin, Orrin Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, Herb Kohl, Charles Schumer, Arlen Specter, George Voinovich, and Sheldon Whitehouse.

“Senator Leahy and the bill’s cosponsors should be commended for introducing this important legislation to address the growing scourge of counterfeiting and piracy over the Internet,” says David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the GIPC. “The sale of counterfeit and pirated goods online is rampant across the world, hindering our economic growth, killing our jobs, and putting our consumers at risk. These sites are illegal, and the Senators have taken an important step towards remedying this growing problem. Addressing this problem is a win-win—good for businesses that need to protect their IP online, good for the digital marketplace, and good for consumers who will benefit from both.”

The Chamber’s GIPC noted that effective legislation should focus on the full scope of rogue websites, ensuring that the “worst of the worst” actors are targeted. By doing so, we will both protect key industries and facilitate the continued growth of the vibrant, legitimate Internet marketplace. A final bill should also provide an efficient and expeditious avenue that promotes effective legal action against these rogue websites. The Chamber looks forward to working with Congressional leadership—which has already proven to understand the damaging effects of these crimes—to pass this important legislation.

America’s innovative and creative industries account for more than $5 trillion of the U.S. GDP, drive more than half of U.S. exports, and employ more than 18 million Americans. However, reports have indicated that each year, copyright piracy from motion pictures, sound recordings, business and entertainment software, and video games costs the U.S. economy $58.0 billion in total output. This adds up to costing 373,375 American jobs, $16.3 billion in earnings, and costs federal, state, and local governments $2.6 billion in tax revenue.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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