Robert Wright, chairman of NBC Universal, has issued a call to arms for copyright protection, contending the copyright clause of the U.S Constitution is under enormous pressure and requires vigilant attention.”
In comments to accept a First Amendment award from the Media Institute in Washington, D.C., Wright said that the recording industry has been “decimated by illegal downloads” of music and that the same fate threatens television, movies, publishing and software.
Wright said these combined $1.25 trillion businesses comprise a total of 12 percent of the nation’s gross national product (GNP) and account for 11 million jobs.
The veteran NBC network chief said it would be a terrible mistake to assume that intellectual property violations are a price to pay for the transition to digital technology. He said that when intellectual property components of other commercial activity are added up, more than 20 percent of the country’s national economy could be traced to intellectual property of some kind.
Wright suggested that technology, not new laws, is the best solution to prevent theft of intellectual property, but also urged that government enact new rules that encourage technological progress and uphold the values that make commerce possible.
He urged passage of a package of antipiracy bills in the House Judiciary Committee that are “currently in limbo;” compromise in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the “induce” legislation aimed at peer-to-peer file sharing; and support of proposed intellectual property protection recommendations made by Attorney General John Ashcroft.