White House Pledges Stepped Up US Antipiracy Enforcement

Without better coordination of government resources, theft of U.S. goods through piracy is likely to get worse, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday at a gathering of White House officials and media and technology executives.

“They’re stealing it. It offends me,” Biden said. Participants at the roundtable gathered to discuss how to protect the country’s innovations from counterfeiting and piracy.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the protection of intellectual property is a top priority for the Justice Department. Criminal investigations are occurring inside the U.S. and abroad, he said.

“This is a problem that the United States cannot solve by itself,” Holder said. “We want to confront these nations, quite frankly, where too much of this occurs,” Holder said.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and FBI Director Robert Mueller also were in attendance at the meeting, which was billed by the White House as the first of its kind.

The meeting included executives from media and technology conglomerates at the forefront of the antipiracy battle. Participants included Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Corp.’s (SNE, 6758.TO) Sony Pictures Entertainment unit; Robert Holleyman, president of the Business Software Alliance; Mitch Bainwol, president of the Recording Industry Association; and Jeffrey Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co. (GE).

Meanwhile, Congress has appropriated about $30 million for enforcement of intellectual-property laws. The funding is an outgrowth of legislation approved last year to toughen the U.S. government’s stance on pirated or counterfeited movies, music, pharmaceuticals and software.

The White House meeting also comes as big business groups anxiously watch global climate-change negotiations, hoping to ensure that intellectual-property rights won’t be watered down in the talks.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s global Intellectual Property Center earlier this year said one million green jobs would be lost by 2020 and export markets would be significantly damaged if governments adopt “compulsory licensing” and other anti-intellectual-property policies.

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