TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Bush Creates New Post to Fight Global Piracy

Bush Creates New Post to Fight Global Piracy

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 22 Jul 2005 12:21:33 -0500

President Bush has created a new senior-level position to fight global
intellectual-property piracy and counterfeiting that cost American
companies billions of dollars each year, Commerce Secretary Carlos
Gutierrez said on Friday.

"Intellectual-property theft is a major problem around the world. We
believe that it is costing U.S. businesses about $250 billion in lost
sales," Gutierrez told Reuters in an interview with reporters and

Bush has tapped Chris Israel, currently deputy chief of staff for
Gutierrez, to head up the administration's anti-piracy efforts. China
-- where 90 percent of music and movies are pirate copies -- will be a
chief priority, Gutierrez said.

"Frankly, our goal is to reduce (China's piracy levels) to zero,"
Gutierrez said. He declined to specify a timetable, but acknowledged
it could be a lengthy effort.

Gutierrez got a personal glimpse of rampant piracy in China during a
visit earlier this month, when he was offered the chance to buy a
pirated copy of the newest Star Wars movie for $1 dollar, an aide

The United States will closely monitor a long list of anti-piracy
pledges China made at this month's high-level Joint Commission on
Commerce and Trade meeting, including a promise to increase criminal
prosecutions, Gutierrez said.

The skyrocketing U.S. trade deficit -- which reached a record $618
billion last year -- has compounded U.S. concerns about piracy and
counterfeiting. Companies that produce movies, music and software and
other intellectual property account for a growing share of what the
United States has to sell to the rest of the world.

U.S. manufacturers of products ranging from shampoo to auto-safety
glass also complain that they often have to compete with counterfeit
versions of their own products in China and other markets around the

The Commerce Department estimates nearly 7 percent of the goods in the
global market are counterfeit.

Israel was a public policy executive at Time Warner, a media company
with strong interests in intellectual property rights protection,
before joining the Commerce Department. He also has worked in Congress
as a legislative aide.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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