Advancing Internet Freedom and Intellectual Property Rights Not a Zero Sum Game

Internet freedom and intellectual property rights are often considered to be in conflict with each other, with a win for one cause generally seen as a loss for the other. However the newly formed Internet Association, a lobbying group whose powerful members include Google, Facebook, and Amazon, seems to differ with this notion. Michael Beckerman, the President of the group, who advocate for the protection of internet freedom and promotion of experiment and innovation, gave an interview two weeks ago in which he noted that, “I would say that no-one has done more to protect intellectual property than these Internet companies. They take a backseat to no-one in that regard. It’s not either or.”

Beckerman’s comments are echoed in a memo released last week by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. The memo notes the vast benefits, both economic and otherwise, produced by the protection of intellectual property rights while also pointing out that “The Internet cannot thrive in an environment of overbearing regulation.”  
The Chamber of Commerce memo and Beckerman’s stance offer hope that we are, perhaps, entering into a time when internet freedom and intellectual property rights are not seen as mutually exclusive. Congress, the FCC, and other lawmaking bodies would do well to realize this and promote legislation and regulation that protects both issues. In the words of the Chamber of Commerce, “Freedom and safety are complementary, and the American people deserve both.”