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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Helping the Economy and Small Business Through IP Enforcement

The SBE Council and Association for Cometitive Technology sent a letter to President Barack Obama on September 15, which urged his Administration to aggressively address widespread piracy and intellectual property (IP) theft as these nefarious activities undercut his initiatives that are aimed toward helping small to mid-size firms go global.

"While your Administration is doing its part in providing technical assistance and services to small businesses to help them go global, rampant IP theft remains a key concern that has the potential to undermine your goal of doubling exports over the next five years, and creating two million new jobs through this activity," wrote Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) President & CEO Karen Kerrigan, and Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) Executive Director Morgan Reed in their joint letter to President Obama.

Many small to mid-size businesses, noted Kerrigan and Reed in the letter, are held back from pursuing global markets because of their fear of IP theft. The problem has become more accentuated during the economic downturn as massive IP theft of U.S. products and software only exacerbates existing challenges related to accessing capital and credit, devoting adequate resources to R&D, and balancing efforts at fighting infringement at the expense of growing and innovating in a competitive environment.

“We believe that placing a priority on IP enforcement – at home and abroad – is a timely economic and legal strategy that will help stimulate the economy through job creation, enabling innovation, increasing tax revenues as well as ensuring the U.S. maintains its global leadership, particularly in the technology space,” wrote the business advocates.

A new analysis released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) on September 15 reports on the economic benefits of reducing the software piracy rate. In the new report, “Piracy Impact Study: The Economic Benefits of Reducing Software Piracy,” the BSA found that “reducing the piracy rate for PC software by 10 percentage points in four years would create $142 billion in new economic activity -- more than 80 percent accruing to local industries -- while adding nearly 500,000 new high-tech jobs and generating roughly $32 billion in new tax revenues.”

The letter points out what can be done, and encourages President Obama to remain engaged on this issue. Efforts to curb piracy and IP theft will "yield economic dividends with regard to job creation and growing entrepreneurial firms,” Kerrigan and Reed concluded in their letter.

Read the rest of this press release, with a link to the letter, here.

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