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PEC Advises White House on Piracy Protection Abroad

The President's Export Council (PEC) has advised President Obama that it needs to "combat" what it called the "weak and ineffective" intellectual property protections abroad, including digital theft made easier by the explosion of broadband.

That came in a letter to the president earlier this month urging the adminstration to put a top priority on addressing the problem.

"Legitimate companies invest huge sums in the creation and dissemination of copyprighted materials," wrote Jim McNerney, chairman of the Council, whose members also include Disney President Bob Iger and Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg. "They simply cannot compete effectively with organized pirate operations that incur no development costs, pay not royalties, evade all regulatory requirements and pay no taxes on their ill-gotten gains."

PEC members are appointed by the president and include 28 private-sector execs and a bipartisan mix of senators, representatives and agency officials.

Talking specifically about digital piracy, McNerney said that the growth of broadband abroad "offers huge potential markets to U.S. copyright owners in the long run, but in the short run...has too often given the pirates a faster and chearper means to steal U.S. intellectual property....The U.S. Goverment must make it a priority to work with foreign governments to ensure reasonable methods and effective tools."

The Motion Picture Association of America, which has been pushing for stronger online content protections here and abroad was understandably pleased with that and other recommendations. "The Obama Administration has demonstrated time and again its commitment to protecting intellectual property rights in the United States and these substantive and practical recommendations will go far in helping to protect the 2.4 million American jobs that depend on a vital film and television industry," MPAA said in a statement.