Copyright Alliance looks for answers

Presidential hopefuls quizzed on property rights

An industry-backed organization has asked 17 hopefuls seeking either the Democratic or Republican presidential nomination to explain what they would do, if elected, to promote and protect intellectual property rights.

The Copyright Alliance, whose members include the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Recording Industry Assn. of America, said it hopes to have replies from all the campaigns by early next year and will make all answers publicly available at a later date.

In a conference call Tuesday with reporters, alliance exec director Patrick Ross acknowledged that with the country facing issues such as the war in Iraq, the mortgage crisis and health care, candidate stands on intellectual property rights aren’t likely to determine voter decisions.

“We’re not pretending our issue is paramount or the only one of concern,” Ross said. But given the significance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy — accounting for about 13% of it, Ross said — the issue should merit attention.

Ross emphasized that the questionnaire mailed to the candidates isn’t ultimately intended to single out a particular candidate for endorsement. “We are an educational organization,” he said.

If candidates either don’t reply or give answers that the alliance feels are inadequate, Ross said he and member orgs will “do more to get the word out to candidates and the general public” about the importance of copyright industries.

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