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Broad Coalition Urges Obama to Diversify IP Appointments

EFF and Others Call for New Offices to Promote Innovation
PRESS RELEASE
April 2, 2009
EFF and Others Call for New Offices to Promote Innovation

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined a broad coalition of public interest groups and trade associations calling for President Obama to diversify future appointments to intellectual property policy positions and create new offices devoted to promoting innovation and free expression.

In all, 19 organizations signed the letter to the president, spearheaded by Washington D.C.-based non-profit Public Knowledge. The coalition includes the Consumer Electronics Association, the American Library Association, and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Several of the president's recent appointees to positions that oversee intellectual property policy have represented the recording industry or other industries that support overly broad IP protection. But many positions with IP policy responsibilities have not yet been filled. In the letter sent today, the coalition urges the administration to appoint individuals representing the diversity of stakeholders involved in IP issues.

"Innovators, artists, and the increasingly participatory public are all deeply invested in the future of America's intellectual property policy," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "For example, thousands of remix videos are posted to YouTube every day, and they are already an important part of political debate and artistic expression in the 21st century. America needs policymakers who will protect new tools and new artistic works."

The coalition also calls on the president to create new positions at the Patent and Trademark Office, the United States Trade Representative, and the Department of State dedicated to promoting innovation and advancing the cause of progress in sciences and the useful arts.

"While the content industry plays a significant role in our economy, so too do the creators of technology and their force of innovation," said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge. "And while we recognize the rights of corporate content creators, we might also recognize the rights of consumers lawfully to create their own works and to use their own digital media. It's that balance the Administration needs to recognize."

For the full letter to President Obama:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/obamaIPcoalitionletter.pdf

Contact:

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
fred@eff.org

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