White House IP Report Draws Praise From Both Sides

It appears that fair use and copyright protection fans both found something to like in the Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator's three-year strategic plan for 2017-2019, released this week.

The office is charged by Congress with protecting intellectual property and the rights of citizens, as well as with putting out three-year plans on how to do that, which are submitted to the House and Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he looked forward to reading the report (it is 160-plus pages).

The plan is focused on large-scale infringement and piracy, rather than all instances where there might be infringement. "[D]iscussions around 'piracy' in the digital environment are focused on large-scale illicit business models that have been designed to intentionally and unlawfully infringe third-party copyrighted content," it says, citing TV shows, movies, music books and other creative works.

“Protecting intellectual property is critical to growing the economy, creating jobs and advancing innovation," he said. "It requires vigilant enforcement of the laws, consumer education and international cooperation. I look forward to reading the latest Joint Strategic Plan and seeing how we can support intellectual property rights and work to address the challenges we face now and in the future.”

“We are pleased IPEC’s Joint Strategic Plan recognizes the important role of fair use and a balanced copyright system. We agree that the United States ‘must work to foster creativity, understanding the role of exceptions and limitations as not only part of our body of laws, but as an important part of our culture,’" said fair use fans the Re:Create Coalition. "IPEC rightfully proposes that attempts to prevent infringement should not restrict lawful uses of content,” said Joshua Lamel, executive director of the coalition in a statement.

Re:Create Coalition members include Public Knowledge and the American Library Association, familiar names in the fair use vs. copyright tug-of-war.

The Copyright Alliance was also pleased with the report, putting its emphasis on the parts about the value of copyrighted works to the economy.

"The report, which represents a joint effort by twelve federal agencies and was spearheaded by IPEC, emphasizes the tremendous value that U.S. intellectual property plays in our economy and trade and the importance of protecting American ingenuity and creativity, while also delineating the numerous threats and harms to intellectual property being caused by commercial piracy and other intellectual property violations," said alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid.

He applauded the reports focus "not only on the most egregious IP offenders, but also its highlighting of the need for stronger corporate leadership from legitimate online platforms and services to share in the responsibility of protecting America’s valuable intellectual property."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.