Schiff, Goodlatte Laud Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Initiative

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Co-Chairs of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, joined U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and other Members of Congress to announce the negotiation of a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).  The ACTA will establish an international framework to combat intellectually property rights counterfeiting and piracy around the world, which has a devastating impact on the U.S. economy.

“On an individual level, copyright infringement is nothing less than high-tech shoplifting,” said Congressman Schiff.  “In the aggregate, it can destroy whole industries.  There is no difference between stealing a DVD from a store and selling a pirated CD on the street or uploading it to the Internet.  This Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will take action to ensure piracy is taken seriously around the globe – ultimately helping to protect American jobs.”

“America is the world leader in innovation precisely because of its exceptionally strong intellectual property laws,” said Goodlatte.  “It is clear that each nation must realize that copyright piracy and counterfeiting are serious problems that do not merely affect private companies’ bottom lines in the short term.  They also discourage investment and innovation in the long term, which eventually leads to fewer consumer choices – a repercussion that affects entire societies and economies.   I applaud the USTR for her continued work to encourage our global partners to join the serious fight against piracy.”

The ACTA will take concrete steps to better protect intellectual property.  It will seek to increase international cooperation by making it easier for nations to share information for improved enforcement efforts.  It will develop a set of “best practices” which countries will use to support protection efforts for intellectual property. Lastly, the agreement will work to establish a strong legal framework which nations can use to better prosecute criminal offenders. 

The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, formed in 2003 by Representatives Goodlatte and Schiff and Senators Gordon Smith and Joseph Biden, is made up of 65 members of Congress.  The goal of the Caucus is to provide briefings for Congressional delegations traveling to countries with significant piracy problems; staff and member briefings and forums on international intellectual property protection and piracy; demonstrations of new technologies and products designed to improve consumers’ entertainment experiences and to reduce piracy; and to work closely with the committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate on related hearings and legislation.