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Three Ways the Administration and 113th Congress Can Accelerate the Digital Economy to Achieve Election Goals

The 2012 US election was about many things, but first and foremost it was about growing the economy and creating jobs. With the campaign now over, the Obama Administration and incoming 113th Congress can accomplish both of those goals in the innovation-driven IT sector by focusing on three big priorities: safeguarding intellectual property rights and protections, opening global markets to digital trade, and fostering the growth of cloud computing.

In the last four years, the Administration has made commendable progress in elevating intellectual property issues through a coordinated domestic effort and concerted dialogue with key trading partners. In the next four years, it will be important for the Administration and Congress to continue building on that progress — especially through trade negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

As technology issues come up for debate, Members of Congress should always keep in mind that IP rights and protections are indispensable to innovation and the myriad economic and social benefits that come with it. Eroding the ability to commercialize IP-based innovations would cost the software industry and the broader economy dearly.

This is a period of rapid evolution in technology. Innovations like cloud computing offer tremendous new opportunities to expand trade, but there are obstacles to overcome. Some trading partners are seeking to adopt protectionist policies that specifically target IT. This must be stopped for IT advances to benefit technology users around the world. We need to advance a digital trade agenda in the TPP and other agreements to guarantee open and fair market access for all of the products and services that enable the information age. It should include steps to roll back heavy-handed procurement preferences, prevent compulsory IP transfers, embrace industry-led technology standards, and ensure data can flow across international borders.

I congratulate President Obama on his reelection and look forward to working with new and returning Members of Congress on all of this. With the right focus, we can accelerate the digital economy — and everyone can reap the benefits.

Robert Holleyman

Author:

As President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance from 1990 until April 2013, Robert Holleyman long served as the chief advocate for the global software industry. Before leaving BSA to start his own venture, Cloud4Growth, Holleyman led the most successful anti-piracy program in the history of any industry, driving down software piracy rates in markets around the world.

Named one of the 50 most influential people in the intellectual property world, he was instrumental in putting into place the global policy framework that today protects software under copyright law. A widely respected champion for open markets, Holleyman also was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the principal advisory committee for the US government on trade matters.

Holleyman was a leader in industry efforts to establish the legal framework necessary for cloud-computing technologies to flourish. He was an early proponent for policies that promote deployment of security technologies to build public trust and confidence in cyberspace. And he created a highly regarded series of forums for industry executives and policymakers to exchange points of view and forge agreements on the best ways to spur technology advances and promote economic growth.

Before heading BSA, Holleyman was a counselor and legislative adviser in the United States Senate, an attorney in private practice, and a judicial clerk in US District Court. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a J.D. from Louisiana State University, and has completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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