Zucker: U.S. is losing the piracy battle


The entertainment industry on Wednesday continued its efforts to expand the war on piracy to other sectors of the economy. At the second day of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-hosted anti-piracy summit, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker warned of the cost to the nation's economy.

Zucker told the largely friendly audience that the theft of intellectual property — whether a movie, TV show or pair of brake pads — has reached crisis proportions.

"The unfortunate truth is that today we are losing the battle," he said as he urged members of the Chamber of Commerce to join the entertainment industry in a national effort to combat the threat. "Our unified voices will carry far more weight than the pleas of the individual industries."

To back up his call, Zucker cited a study by the industry-friendly Institute for Policy Innovation released Wednesday that found the impact of intellectual property piracy among all the copyright industries is nearly $60 billion a year and costs about 373,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in lost tax revenue.

While Zucker said NBC Uni continues to believe in digital delivery, he urged the government to make a bigger effort to stem piracy.

"We need, across the board, to move IP enforcement up the agenda of the federal government," he said.

To that end, the Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the creation of a new White House post — chief intellectual property enforcement officer — as well as increased spending for border and law enforcement and stepped-up coordination with industry and foreign governments.

"The intellectual property of our key industries is under assault around the globe, and we believe that IP protection is among a handful of issues that will determine America's competitiveness in the 21st century," Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue said.

Tying copyright piracy to other intellectual property issues like fake pharmaceuticals and other consumer goods that have the potential to hurt or kill people, the entertainment industry gains a much broader grass-roots platform to make its appeal heard in Congress.

"Lets face it, the squeaky wheel gets the grease in this business," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.