Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Celebrating the birth of copyright : by Sen. Patrick Leahy.

By Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) - 04/13/10 02:31 PM ET :

The copyright laws offer creators incentive to produce new and unique works. These may come in various forms, including movies, music, and books, all of which are important components of American culture.

These works create jobs, from their production and manufacture to the advertising and sales that support them.

To cultivate these new jobs, intellectual property enforcement must keep pace with an ever changing digital world.

As an avid photographer I am intrigued by the debate at the turn of the 20th Century about whether photographs were copyrightable creations, or merely technical representations.

Public discussion then helped shape copyright laws to accommodate the new medium, just as it does now as times and technologies continue to change.

Today people watch television on handheld devices, skim books on digital readers and enjoy music on laptops, benefiting both content owner and the user.

But along with these new opportunities for distributing creative content, the World Wide Web has also brought new challenges.

"A rampant increase in online piracy threatens the financial viability of those same copyright owners who benefit from our new technology.

This risks harming not only those creators, but the hundreds of thousands of jobs that result from their products.

It also instills the user with a fundamental mistrust of the technology. Effective intellectual property enforcement is necessary to counter this attack. "