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Bush Appoints IP Eyes

The Bush administration is continuing its efforts to highlight overseas intellectual property theft with the creation of a new senior-level position to coordinate the government's foreign anti-piracy campaign.

In a White House personnel notice issued Friday afternoon, Bush appointed Chris Israel, currently deputy chief of staff for Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, as the new coordinator of international intellectual property enforcement.

In his new role, Israel will head the international work of the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC) and coordinate and supervise international intellectual property protection plans among other agencies.

"American ingenuity and innovation are driving forces in our economy and we need to protect our ideas, both at home and abroad," Gutierrez said in a statement. "This new position will help us to be more aggressive and also help us to better coordinate our fight against intellectual property pirates."

According to the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) office, nearly seven percent of the goods in the global marketplace are counterfeit. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimates that in China 90 percent of music and movies are pirated. Russia's piracy rate of American IP stands at 87 percent.

"The creation of a senior-level position to coordinate the battle against global piracy and the protection of our intellectual property sends a critical message to countries like China, Brazil and Russia, which have been lax in their enforcement of IP protections," Jim Prendergast, executive director of Americans for Technology Leadership, said in a statement praising the appointment.

In May, the United States placed China on its IP Priority Watch List. Beijing joined Russia and 12 other trading parties that Washington claims are not effectively enforcing piracy laws.

"It is critical that other countries understand our resolve on IP protection and that they take the steps necessary to clamp down on piracy and protect the cycle of innovation that brings great benefits to consumers," Prendergast said.

The BSA's Robert Holleyman added in a statement of support, "The theft of intellectual property has profound implications for our nation's economy and consumers worldwide, and protection of these works must be enforced on a global scale."

Holleyman said Israel's appointment, "Allows the U.S. government to address the escalating problems of piracy, utilizing resources across multiple government agencies, in a unified, global effort."

Prior to becoming deputy chief of staff at Commerce, Israel served as deputy assistant secretary for technology policy at the agency.



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