2:09 PM EDT
John Conyers Jr., D-MI 14th

Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, today we move to dramatically step up our Nation's intellectual property laws and enforcement efforts. With so much unpleasant economic news in the headlines, the measure before us, H.R. 4279, puts resources towards aiding a sector of the economy that employs an estimated 18 million workers. That is 13 percent of our labor force and accounts for half of all of the United States exports driving 40 percent of the country's growth.

As a result of less-than-effective enforcement, however, counterfeiting and piracy cost the United States' economy somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 billion a year and creates the loss of about 750,000 American jobs.

And so H.R. 4279 will do these important things: It will prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government by creating an office in the White House that will be responsible for coordinating the intellectual property efforts of eight diverse agencies and producing a national Joint Strategic Plan for IP enforcement. It will elevate IP enforcement within the Department of Justice and provide more resources for investigating and prosecuting IP crimes.

It will make changes to both civil and criminal IP laws to enhance the ability of intellectual property owners to effectively protect their rights, and it will increase penalties for IP violations that endanger public health and safety.

Throughout the process of developing this bill, we heard many expressions of support as well as a number of expressions of concern. But we've been able to work out these issues on a bipartisan basis at every step of the process.

I congratulate the distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee, both Republicans and Democrats, for their cooperation in this process. And so now as a result, the measure is supported by the Consumer Electronics Association, the Digital Media Association, the Net Coalition, the Internet Commerce Coalition, the Coalition for Consumers' Picture Rights, the Printing Industries Association and more.

That is in addition to the support we've already had from the Teamsters, the Directors Guild of America, SEIU, AFTRA, Unite Here, AFM, OPEIU, the Coalition Against Counterfeiting in Piracy, the Motor Equipment Manufacturing Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, PHARMA, and NBC Universal.

Intellectual property protection is among the key issues that will determine American competitiveness in the 21st century. The ability to create, innovate, and generate the best artistic, technological, and knowledge-based intellectual property is the formula for continued growth in the global economy and is fundamental to the promotion of human progress.

This committee of ours, the Judiciary Committee, has given these items involved in the measure extensive consideration, lots of compromise back and forth, and we feel that this bill will make important contributions to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. [Page: H3075]

It was reported by voice with strong bipartisan statements of support, and I urge my colleagues to vote for its passage.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

[Time: 14:15]