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Steal These Policies: Strategies for Reducing Digital Piracy

December 15, 2009

The U.S. government can and should do more to support industry efforts to reduce digital piracy.

It is time for the U.S. government to take global theft of U.S. intellectual property, especially digital content, much more seriously. A new ITIF report finds that the U.S. government can and should do more to support industry efforts to reduce digital piracy, a growing problem that threatens not only the robust production of digital content, but U.S. jobs. While there are no “silver bullets” to reducing digital piracy, there are a number of “lead bullets” that can and should be implemented. Specifically, ITIF calls on the federal government to not preclude those impacted by digital piracy, including copyright holders and ISPs, from taking steps, including implementing technical controls like digital fingerprinting, to reduce piracy. In addition, industry and government should consider bold steps to limit the revenue streams of those profiting from piracy by encouraging ISPs, search engines, ad networks and credit card companies to block piracy websites and refuse to do business with them. These options should be part of a broad dialogue that engages all stakeholders, including government, content owners, website operators, technology developers, and ISPs and other intermediaries, on how to improve the global response to piracy. Toward that end, this report recommends that policymakers:

  • Support, rather than impede, anti-piracy innovation, including the development of new technical means.
  • Encourage coordinated industry action to take steps to fight digital piracy, such as ISP implementation of graduated response systems.
  • More actively pursue international frameworks and action to protect intellectual property, including digital content.
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