Yesterday during a White House conference called “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke about the inseparable link between intellectual property and American jobs. He lauded American creativity in media, and its value as a national export.
The U.S. entertainment industry “remains heavily unionized,” Trumka noted, and is comprised of mostly “middle-class professions you never see,” such as “camera operators, costumers, editors, electricians, hairstylists, make-up artists and dozens more” – rather than the celebrities as some might expect.
Entertainment professionals depend not just on pay, but on a share of “downstream revenue” from the repeated use of a show, film, or recorded music after its initial release. Three-quarters of the revenues for a motion picture come after its initial theatrical release. More than half of scripted television revenues come after the first run. These downstream revenues yield the residuals and royalties that sustain entertainment professionals between projects and fund their pension and health care plans.
But along with billions of dollars each year, digital theft has cost the U.S. entertainment industry countless jobs.
Trumka also highlighted the consequences intellectual property theft has on American jobs and the importance of taking action to stop it:
A 2011 report from the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated conservatively that if China protected intellectual property as the U.S. does, there would be approximately 923,000 new U.S. jobs. And China is only one of many countries that host websites illegally trafficking in U.S. entertainment.
U.S. protections for American intellectual property simply do not effectively address foreign rogue websites that steal movies, TV shows and music. The need to address foreign rogue websites remains urgent as they continue to profit at the expense of U.S. jobs and income.
The AFL-CIO president joined U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue and Commerce Secretary John Bryson for the release of a new Commerce Department report which finds that “the entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP, because virtually every industry either produces or uses it,” and that IP-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contributing $5 trillion dollars to the economy.
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