In what looks like a big round of political theater, US IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel presented to a Congressional committee her plans for fighting copyright infringement overseas
, and it seems to boil down to "blame China." Apparently, all of the elected officials were on board with that, and then asked what to do... to which Espinel provided the same answer that US officials have always given: put pressure on the Chinese to respect US intellectual property. How's that been working so far? Exactly. It's a plan for handwaving -- which, honestly, might really be the best thing. China really doesn't care what the US has to say about IP policy, and US lawmakers know this. They also know that the US needs China more than China needs the US right now. That's why suggestions made by some politicians -- such as Rep. Ted Poe about blocking visas for Chinese students and tourists -- was dismissed out of hand by others:
Rep. Bill Delahunt... responded to Poe's argument that we should reduce the number of student visas for China by pointing out this would harm people in his state.
He said many of those would-be students from China attend schools in New England. Not only that, but the families of these students visit, which helps Massachusetts' business people.
The fact is that waving arms about China ignoring IP isn't going to do anything. It's all just a big political exercise, and it's pretty meaningless. The supposed "harm" has been seriously overblown by companies, and the ability to do something about it is miniscule. If we really wanted to "respond" to Chinese disrespect for US intellectual property, we should be helping companies (1) compete better and (2) adapt to use the situation to their advantage. Instead, we get political grandstanding that won't help anyone.