United States, Korea Reach Compromise on Free Trade Agreement

06 Dec 2010

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced that US and Korean trade negotiators have reached final agreement on the Republic of Korea–US Free Trade Agreement, known as the KORUS FTA. The Business Software Alliance welcomed in a press release the breakthrough.

“The KORUS FTA is an important agreement with a major trading partner,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “This agreement includes world-class intellectual property protections, promotes open, non-discriminatory rules for e-commerce, and creates broad market access for trade in services. We understand that a number of issues need additional attention and we urge the president to resolve them to ensure rapid congressional approval of the agreement.”

“Korea has built a viable software industry and driven growth in its entire IT sector on the strength of a highly effective system for curbing software piracy and protecting intellectual property rights,” Holleyman said. “Fifteen years ago, 76 percent of the software programs installed on personal computers in Korea were not paid for as they should have been. But with robust enforcement, Korea has since brought down its piracy rate by nearly half to 41 percent.”

“Korea’s commitment to aggressively pursue software piracy is to be applauded — and we read the KORUS FTA as both reinforcing and fully compatible with the approach Korea has taken to date though vigorous civil and criminal enforcement,” said Holleyman. “That is one of the reasons that we strongly support the agreement. We are confident that the new FTA and continuing current enforcement procedures will result in even further reductions in software piracy.”

Provisions in the KORUS FTA that are important for the software industry include: World-class intellectual property protections that supplement the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The agreement takes account of the ways digital works are licensed and sold on the Internet, and it prohibits the kinds of tools pirates often use hack into protected works such as software. The agreement also promotes open, non-discriminatory rules for e-commerce — so companies operating in Korea and the United States are treated equally online.

The Business Software Alliance is the world’s foremost advocate for the software industry, working in 80 countries to expand software markets and create conditions for innovation and growth.



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