Several times a year we see lobbyists and legislators in Washington trying to sell the Department of Justice on the idea of a so-called Copyright Czar. Such a position would essentially create a staff of pro bono lawyers to litigate what are currently civil cases for copyright holders (ie the music, movie, and software industries). Now they’re getting heat from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sent a letter to President Bush claiming IP infringement “has already caused the loss of an estimated 750,000 American jobs.”
That’s right. Of the 9.5 million Americans who are unemployed, nearly 8% have apparently been put out of work by pirates. At least if you believe the Chamber of Commerce figures.
Of course you’d be hard pressed to confirm that since the letter doesn’t bother to list any sources for that figure. Nor does it explain exactly how it “poses a severe health and safety risk to consumers.”
The letter was sent in support of a bill known as PRO-IP, or the “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act,” which is just the latest version of legislation that gets proposed annually and shot down just as routinely in one or both houses of Congress.