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Balanced Approach To Digital Intellectual Property Is Vital To Economic Growth
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
2004-03-07
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The networked economy and technological innovation have been, and will continue to be, at the heart of our nation's economic growth. Policies that more clearly delineate digital intellectual property rights while striking a balance between the rights of creators and those of users are critical to America's economic future. That is the message of Promoting Innovation and Economic Growth: The Special Problem of Digital Intellectual Property, a new policy statement from the Committee for Economic Development (CED).

In the report, released today, CED urges a measured response in addressing digital piracy. While copying and downloading of digital content does indeed represent a threat to the economic interests of content providers, the extent of the problem is still not clear. Policymakers and the parties involved must realize that hastily enacted laws and regulations could have unintended consequences and slow the pace of innovation and economic growth. CED recommends that the next two years be used to develop a consensus on the proper course of action to take.

"Innovation has always driven American companies. CED is a public policy group led by business leaders, and we are concerned about any roadblocks to innovation. Logical and fair solutions to the intellectual property rights challenges presented by the digital world are needed to ensure that this issue does not severely hamper economic growth," said Charles Kolb, CED's President.

The report offers a history of copyright law, which illustrates the importance that has long been placed on maintaining a public domain where follow-on innovators are free to improve and build upon existing work. The report also points out that this is not the first time that new technology has been perceived as a serious threat to entertainment interests. The industry adapted to, and in fact was strengthened by, development of the player piano, phonograph, radio, and VCR. In each of these cases, new business models were created in response to these new technologies. Based on this historical record, CED strongly recommends that developing and testing new business models be given the highest priority by the content providers. Other CED recommendations include;

* Experimentation with private digital rights management (DRM) systems while refraining from government mandates on manufacturers to include specific DRM technologies,

* Consideration of market-based economic tools that provide incentives for copyright-holders to facilitate follow-on innovation,

* Continued exploration of existing solutions, such as enforcement and education.

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