Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Make Piracy A Foreign Policy Issue

Billions are lost every year due to piracy of our intellectual goods. These are the high value products that America manufactures and dominates in. Our music and movie industries are matched by none, yet piracy reduces our rightful rewards to a mere pittance. America is still the most innovative nation in the world, but what has changed is that we no longer are being rewarded fully for our innovative ideas that are being enjoyed around the world. As millions listen to our rap and pop artists, music record sales continue to drop. Software sales are stagnant even as more and more people use them. Our drug innovations are immediately stolen or forced to be sold at barely above manufacturing cost.

I'm astonished that this topic hasn't received very much attention though the effects are huge. Imagine if all the music, movies, software, drugs, etc. were paid for instead of stolen, the gains to the American economy would be huge and they would have a multiplier effect. Tower records would still be in business, employing tens of thousands of youth working their way through college. Software companies might actually hire programmers and release more software instead of declaring bankruptcy or praying for a white knight larger company to come along.

This should the the second most important foreign policy objective, taking a backseat only to terrorism. How China and others can steal our products with impunity while we beg them to extend us more credit so that we can legitimately purchase their goods is beyond me.

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