Copyright Alliance launched

Grammy winners appeared to support move

Thursday was a big day for copyright as a new intellectual property rights advocacy group formed and an additional IPR threats list was released.

Members of Congress heralded the launch of the Copyright Alliance, which consists of 29 organizations in the U.S. ranging from entertainment and arts groups to technology and sports coalitions. The alliance estimates that the number individuals it represents totals 11 million.

“I appreciate your effort to form one collective voice on copyright reform,” said Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), ranking member on the House Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, in a statement. “As you know, copyright legislation is one of the most complicated and important areas in U.S. law. Digitization and related technologies beg some changes to the copyright laws, and I wish you the best of luck and my support as you rollout the Copyright Alliance.”

Appearing at the launch were four Grammy winners: Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier; legendary guitarist Steve Cropper; country singer-songwriter Tim O’Brien; and folk singer-songwriter Tom Paxton.

Describing itself as a non-profit, non-partisan educational org, Copyright Alliance said its mission is “to provide educational resources and promote creativity, jobs and growth through copyright.”

At the launch, members presented House Judiciary chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) with a set of “policy principles” that will guide the new org’s efforts. The principles are all variations on the theme of encouraging and protecting intellectual property.

“Everybody loves creative works, and starting today, the Copyright Alliance will work to ensure the creative process continues by advancing the interest of millions of Americans,” said CA exec director Patrick Ross, formerly of the libertarian think-tank Progress & Freedom Foundation. “Just look at the breadth of our membership: artists’ unions and guilds; large and small production and distribution companies; amateur and professional sports leagues; book publishing; business software; graphic artists; magazines; movies; music; newspapers; photographers; radio; television; and video game developers.”

The Motion Picture Assn. of America, a member org, “welcomes this new collective voice to the public arena as an advocate for those individuals and their work,” said topper Dan Glickman.

In a separate event following launch of CA, the congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus released its annual “watch list” of countries where IP rights are most seriously threatened. The list of five countries included four already similarly designated by the U.S. Trade Rep – China, Russia, Malaysia and Mexico. The IAPC list also includes Canada, which the USTR omitted from its list, much to the distress of the movie industry because of concerns about proliferating illegal camcording north of the border.

The MPAA also welcomed the list and also praised IAPC for promising to “closely monitor” developments in the five countries.

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