The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, which was originally formed in 2003, is made up of over 65 members of Congress. The goal of the Caucus is to provide briefings for Congressional delegations traveling to countries with significant piracy problems, staff and member briefings and forums on international intellectual property protection and piracy, demonstrations of new technologies and products designed to improve consumers’ entertainment experiences and to reduce piracy and to work closely with the committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate on related hearings and legislation.
The advent of digital technology holds the promise of a golden age for movies, music, video games and other forms of entertainment. More new devices for watching, listening to, recording, sharing and saving music and movies have emerged in the last decade than in the previous 100 years. And these technologies are a key to American economic growth: indeed, the combined copyright industries – movies, home video and television programming, music, books, video games and software – generate more revenues than any other single manufacturing sector, including automobiles and auto parts, aircraft and agriculture. According to a report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, core copyright industries employed 5.1 million Americans in 2010 in jobs that paid 27 percent more than the average wage. These industries remain some of our most internationally competitive, collectively ranking as the second largest exporting sector in the U.S.
Disturbingly, however, an explosion in piracy and a diminution in copyright protection have accompanied these exciting new advances in entertainment technology. Organized crime has become heavily involved in foreign DVD and CD piracy. Criminals are using the same formidable distribution network and resources that were developed for drug trafficking and arms smuggling. The result, in these and other countries, is a virtual evisceration of the legitimate market for American entertainment.
In an effort to combat international copyright piracy by calling attention to countries where piracy has reached alarming levels, the Caucus announced the “2012 International Piracy Watch List.” They will closely monitor the serious problems of copyright piracy in the following five countries: China, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, and Ukraine. These countries make the Watch List because of the scope and depth of their piracy problems, which cost U.S. copyright industries and millions of Americans who work in these companies billions of dollars, and because piracy in these countries is largely the result of a lack of political will to confront the problem. Recently, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that U.S. businesses lost nearly $50 billion in 2009 due to intellectual property violations in China alone. The 2012 Watch List also highlights progress made in engaging cooperative private sector efforts to reduce piracy.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA)
View a Dear Colleague PDF about the Caucus, click here.
2012 Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus Watch List