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Hot Property

Counterfeiting as big business and a blot on society.

Author Pat Choate teaches at George Washington University's Graduate School of Public Management and has written about free trade and American competitiveness. His newest book, Hot Property, is a deep examination of intellectual property theft and the benefits and hindrances of copyright and patent law. The counterfeiting industry costs the United States over $200 billion a year and is an issue of mortal and economic importance, writes Choate.

Concentrating mainly on the United States, his book looks at various aspects of intellectual property rights that began with the passage of the first U.S. Copyright Act in 1790. Although the concept of protection for intellectual property is commonly accepted and defended here, Choate fairly points out that the United States is not blameless in the realm of idea theft.

His description of present-day issues brings to mind the many vendors who illegally sell counterfeit goods on major avenues in American cities—including Washington, D.C., where laws prohibiting such activity are crafted. As everyone knows, the business of bogus goods reaches beyond fashionable handbags and watches to include prescription drugs that may or may not have any curative value. Although an “Intellectual Property Czar” was appointed by Congress in 2004, the budget remains insufficient to combat intellectual property crimes, which extend around the globe.

Choate also reminds us of problems in the preservation of intellectual property: Deteriorating media such as paper and nitrate film may soon be lost forever. In order for innovation to continue and to prevent the loss of contributions by authors, artists, inventors, and others, laws should grant speedier access to content that no longer enjoys commercial value.

The issues surrounding intellectual property, bootlegging, and counterfeiting are similar (but not identical) and are no doubt complex. According to Choate, international forums and domestic laws are already in place to stop intellectual property crimes. What we are lacking, however, is the willpower of U.S. political leaders to stem an impending economic, scientific, and technological decline. –Cynthia D. Churchwell

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - My Fake Rolex
  • Part I - The American Experience
    • Chapter 1 - The Golden Covenant
    • Chapter 2 - The American System
    • Chapter 3 - A World of Pirates
  • Part II - The Business of Nations
    • Chapter 4 - The German Method
    • Chapter 5 - Japan's Way
    • Chapter 6 - China Rising
  • Part III - National and Global Enforcement
    • Chapter 7 - Evolving Enforcement
    • Chapter 8 - A Global Solution
    • Chapter 9 - The Patent Battle
    • Chapter 10 - The Copyright Wars