U.S. House Urges Action on Online IP Infringement

Today, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition held a hearing on the damaging impact that rogue sites have on the American economy, jobs, and consumers and the need for Congress to do something about it. Participants and Members of Congress, led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte, highlighted the need for greater enforcement to curb intellectual property theft in the online marketplace.

In his opening remarks, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton hit directly on the heart of the matter, saying that “American jobs are being lost, American innovation is being diluted and the public health and safety of Americans is at risk – and organized criminal enterprises are profiting from their increasing involvement in IP theft.” GIPC thanks Director Morton for his unambiguous statements. More importantly, we express our gratitude to him and all the people at ICE who have taken on the task of shutting down rogue sites in direct response to the growing threat to the very essence of the American spirit that they pose.We look forward to further action through Operation in Our Sites and we know we can count on ICE to do its part to protect American jobs, consumers, and innovation.

But no matter how hard and how well ICE agents do their jobs, they simply do not have the authority to act against entirely foreign rogue sites. That is where Congress needs to act. Fortunately, today’s hearing was yet another example of Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle raising alarm at the growing number of cyber-criminals, who are intent on making a buck at the expense of consumer safety and American taxpayers. In particular, we note that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee quoted extensively from the www.fightonlinetheft.com website, including recognizing that counterfeiting and piracy have stolen 2.5 million jobs.

GIPC commends Chairman Goodlatte and the Members of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet for holding today’s hearing. We are encouraged by Congress’ deep interest in combating online IP infringement, and look forward to the introduction and enactment of rogue site legislation this year.

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