Content, Hardware, Software & Communications Workers, Unite!
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The entire Information Technology sector, not just content producers, would benefit from a reduction in the current level of Internet piracy, and should work together to develop technical mechanisms to accomplish that goal. The pay-off would be the creation of a large market for digital works. That is the view of an industry expert expressed today at the National Summit on Broadband Deployment: Accelerating the Transition. The program was sponsored by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Appearing in a panel discussion with officials of the Motion Picture Association of America and Verizon – two major organizations with interests in piracy policy – The Progress & Freedom Foundation’s William F. Adkinson, Jr. said rampant piracy is not just a problem for content owners, but for all four members of the “highly interdependent IT sector – hardware, software, communications and content.” Adkinson explained that he expects content “to provide the impetus for the next wave of progress and innovation” on the Internet, but that it cannot be realized without a reduction in piracy. This idea was the focus of the 2002 Aspen Summit’s keynote address by the Foundation’s founding president, Jeffrey A. Eisenach.
Adkinson said effective protection of marketable rights in copyrighted works is essential to building markets in digital works. “Copyright is designed to ensure that content creators have marketable rights in their expression – in fact and not just in theory,” Adkinson said. “Widespread piracy on the Internet is denying content owners any effective protection, thereby rendering their copyright protection illusory.” What is needed, he suggested, is cooperative development of mechanisms for effective content protection.
Adkinson rejected the notion that any form of technical protection would give content owners too much power over consumers' conduct, arguing that competition in the content marketplace will keep consumers in the driver's seat.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.