To the Editor: Strategic plan needed to deal with intellectual property infringement

March 3, 2010

Heard at last, heard at last, thank God almighty, we’re heard at last!!

From the Federal Register:

Victoria Espinel, the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, sometimes referred to as the “Copyright Czar,” has announced a round of public comment on copyright and copyright-enforcement related issues. Specifically, Office of Management and Budget and the Executive Office of the President are seeking feedback on “Identifying the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from infringement of intellectual property rights, both direct and indirect, including any impact on the creation or maintenance of jobs,” and creation of a strategic plan for dealing with Intellectual Property infringement.

Rockford, once an intellectual property hub, now languishes as creators and benefactors of creative endeavors are being forced out of business. Who can afford to do creative work when we are at the mercy of predators who ignore the law with impunity? I recently gave a speech to an inventors’ gathering at EIGERlab. The topic was creative thinking, but protection of our work came up. The consensus among the inventors, many of whom hold patents and some of whom already were victims of theft, was to try to come up with ideas that serve the needs of a large market, but not too large, because their invention is certain to be stolen if it’s too popular. That is the sorry state of intellectual property protection today.

As for a strategic plan for dealing with IP infringement, it can start at the most basic level, right here at home. In the case of the National Wildlife Federation piracy of The First Forest, it’s right in the back yard of the Justice Department. The First Forest has been infringed again in connection with the National Wildlife Federation infringement, but my appeal to the Justice Department was ignored—without even the courtesy of a reply. Creators, the ultimate source of jobs and economic development, are without even the most basic protections today. Perhaps that is about to change.

John Gile

Rockford

From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue

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