The ESA game trade body is praising the Obama administration's new plan for U.S. intellectual property enforcement, a measure that aims to protect the IP rights of video games, among other American industries.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk joined Vice President Joe Biden, members of President Obama's cabinet and U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel to announce the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement.
"USTR uses a full arsenal of trade policy tools to support and implement President Obama’s commitment to aggressively protect American intellectual property rights around the world," Kirk said.
"We are actively engaged in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, dialogues, and cooperation that are particularly critical to advancing the effective enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights overseas," he added.
A statement from the USTR website said that safeguarding U.S. intellectual property "is fundamental to safeguard American jobs, sustain American exports and strengthen the American economy."
International video game piracy is a prime concern for the Entertainment Software Association, the trade body representing the U.S. video game industry. ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher supported the plan.
"The theft of video game intellectual property thwarts creativity, kills jobs, and reduces economic activity throughout our country," he said. "Consumers win when intellectual property rights are respected and enforced."
In the 65-page plan
[pdf], the USTR cited the Institute for Policy Innovation, which estimates that copyright piracy affecting U.S. motion pictures, sound recordings, business software and entertainment software/video game industries cost the U.S. economy $58 billion in total output, over 370,000 jobs, $16.3 billion in earnings and $2.6 billion in tax revenues.
The strategic plan seeks to curb piracy in all applicable industries, and will facilitate measures to identify counterfeit pharmaceuticals that could cause harm to users, or counterfeit chips that are falsely sold as military grade, for example.
The Obama administration's plan involves making sure the U.S. government doesn't purchase or use illegal products, being more transparent about trade policies, collecting "good data" on industries sensitive to IP theft and enforcing international rights to protect IP in piracy-laden countries like China.