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Blog Entries from July 2013

Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force Releases Report on Digital Copyright Policy

Report cover

Department Publishes Green Paper on Updating Copyright Policies for the Internet Age

The U.S. Department of Commerce today released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be updated; ensuring that copyright can be meaningfully enforced on the Internet; and furthering the development of an efficient online marketplace.

The Green Paper released today is the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995. The report is a product of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Through the IPTF, the USPTO and NTIA will solicit further public comments and convene roundtables and forums on a number of key policy issues.

“Copyright law strikes a number of important balances in delineating what is protectable and what is not, determining what uses are permitted without a license, and establishing appropriate enforcement mechanisms to combat piracy, so that all stakeholders benefit from the protection afforded by copyright,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Ensuring that our copyright policy provides incentives for creativity while promoting innovation on the Internet is a critical and challenging task. The Green Paper released today is an important step toward ensuring that the United States’ creative industries continue to have a substantial impact on strengthening our nation’s economy.” 

Copyright has been a vital contributor to U.S. cultural and economic development for more than two hundred years, fostering the production and dissemination of the valuable expression that has put America at the forefront of the global creative marketplace. Maintaining a balanced and effective copyright system should continue to drive the production of creative works while at the same time preserving the innovative power of the Internet and the free flow of information. The Green Paper provides a comprehensive review of current policy related to copyright and the Internet, and identifies important issues that call for attention and development of solutions. The solutions may entail a combination of legal remedies, technology, private sector cooperation, and public outreach and education, along with the continued development of options to legally access copyrighted works.

Secretary Pritzker Visits Albany, New York and Hartford, Connecticut

Secretary Penny Pritzker looks into a cleanroom with Paul Farrar, General Manager of Global 450mm Consortium (G450C) (Photos courtesy of SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE))

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to Albany, N.Y. and Hartford, Conn. on the second leg of her nationwide listening tour. While in Albany, Secretary Pritzker met with senior leadership of SEMATECH and the New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). SEMATECH is a consortium of leading semiconductor device, equipment, and materials manufacturers and university partners from around the globe working on collaborative research on computer chip technology. CNSE is part of the State College of New York (SUNY) system and is home to the world’s most advanced education, research, and economic development enterprise targeting nanoelectronics and nanotechnology innovations.

SEMATECH and CNSE are both models of how the public and private sectors can work together effectively, advancing innovation, industry collaboration and investment in the United States. Secretary Pritzker also toured and heard from the Commerce Department employees at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Forecast Office.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Visits APS Technology

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited APS Technology (APS) in Wallingford, Conn., as part of her nationwide listening tour. Secretary Pritzker is traveling across the country meeting with business leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss how the administration and the Department of Commerce can work with the private sector to help strengthen the economy and create jobs.

First, Secretary Pritzker toured APS’ facilities with company executives, including APS President Bill Turner and Senior Vice President Denis Biglin, along with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. She was able to see some of the company’s projects, which include a variety of drilling tools that are used by the oil and gas industry.

APS started in 1994 providing contract engineering services and has experienced tremendous growth to become a leading provider of products to the oil and gas drilling industry around the world. APS has grown from 79 employees in 2008 to more than 300 employees, including 265 in the U.S. The company’s exports now account for 85 percent of their business. 

Secretary Pritzker Tours SEMATECH and CNSE for Firsthand Look at Semiconductors

Secretary Pritzker with Paul Farrar, General Manager of Global 450mm Consortium (G450C); CNSE Vice President for Manufacturing Innovation; Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC)

As a part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker met with officials from SEMATECH and the State University of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) while in Albany, New York today. SEMATECH and CSNE are leaders in semiconductor technology in the U.S. and among the most innovative enterprises in the world.

Secretary Pritzker met with the executives of SEMATECH and CNSE to discuss the global challenges that accompany a constantly evolving industry. The secretary also spoke about the role Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) plays in creating standards and funding research with SEMATECH and CNSE. She also asked about how the Commerce Department can support growth in the semiconductor and high-tech industries. 

During her visit, the secretary went on a facility tour of CNSE Nanotech and see state-of-the-art chip making technology firsthand. In the NanoFab North room the secretary saw SEMATECH employees conducting research and she stopped at the NanoFab Central Viewing Gallery where she saw rival companies collaborating in a clean room on nano electronics R&D. In the NanoFab Xtension room she viewed the new Global 450 Consortium clean room–a $4.8 billion partnership of Intel, IBM, Global Foundries, Samsung, TSMC, and CNSE to lead the industry’s transition to 450 mm wafers.

Census Bureau's New Tool Puts Congressional District Statistics at Your Fingertips

Census Bureau's New Tool Puts Congressional District Statistics at Your Fingertips

The U.S. Census Bureau has released My Congressional District, the first interactive tool geared exclusively toward finding basic demographic and economic statistics for every congressional district in the U.S. This Web app uses the latest annual statistics from the American Community Survey, providing the most detailed portrait of America's towns and neighborhoods.

Users can sort through statistics in five key categories upon selection of a specific district in the application. Summary level statistics covering education, finance, jobs and housing, as well as basic demographic information, can quickly be displayed, downloaded and shared with others.

A major feature of the My Congressional District app is the ability to embed a selected 113th congressional district on a user's own webpage. The embedded district will display the latest statistics from the American Community Survey, allowing visitors to quickly view statistics for any of the 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia.

How EDA is Supporting Critical Infrastructure in a Missouri City

Perryville Industrial Park sign

One of the ways to ensure that America creates an economy that supports good middle-class jobs is by building critical infrastructure that businesses need to thrive and grow. Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been at the forefront of such efforts, most recently in Perryville, Missouri, where it is joining with the state of Missouri and local authorities to help pay for improved road access to the Perryville Industrial Park.

Industrial parks are the economic lifeblood of many communities, particularly smaller ones. The Perryville Industrial Park is an excellent example of this, being home to an impressive roster of companies that provide good jobs for residents of Perryville and its surrounding Perry County. These include TG Missouri, a manufacturer of automotive components and a supplier to such companies as Toyota, and Robinson Construction, a specialized builder of industrial and manufacturing facilities.

Commerce's NIST Awards 13 Companies with 2013 Small Business Innovation Research Funding

NIST campus sign

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that more than $2.3 million in funding for Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects will be awarded to 13 U.S. small businesses. The awards provide funding to help develop manufacturing and cybersecurity technologies that could lead to commercial and public benefit. 

"We congratulate the companies selected out of the numerous high-quality proposals we received," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "The SBIR program provides a great way to foster technological innovation at small businesses and help keep America innovative and competitive."

NIST's SBIR program seeks to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, especially at minority and disadvantaged firms, strengthen the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs and increase commercialization of federal research and development.

SBIR awards are funded through a competitive, three-phase process. In Phase I, small businesses can receive up to $90,000 to establish the technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. Phase I awardees compete for Phase II funding of up to $300,000, enabling them to continue their efforts. Phase III involves commercial applications of the newly developed technologies, with funding from outside the SBIR program.

Global Investment is Important to the American Economy

The Department of Commerce is Open for Business

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Since I was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, I’ve been meeting with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and foreign leaders to let them know that America is “open for business.” The United States is one of the most desirable places to do business; our $16 trillion economy, with its productive workforce and diverse consumer base, could not do what it does without domestic as well as foreign investment. Yesterday, I participated in the White House Forum (Forum) on Global Investment to highlight the administration’s support for, and benefits of, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. 

For the meeting, I was joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Pat Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez, and 21 foreign ambassadors and representatives to highlight the United States’ whole-of-government approach to attracting foreign direct investment.

Part of our discussion focused on the growth of FDI in sectors such as manufacturing, machinery, and scientific and technical services. In fact, FDI in the United States totaled nearly $168 billion last year. And just recently, the consulting firm A.T. Kearney published its annual FDI Confidence Index, with the United States ranked #1 on this list for the first time since 2001.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who is the head of the Commerce Department’s counterpart agency in Japan. Additional meeting participants included Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae.

During the meeting, Secretary Pritzker and Minister Motegi discussed the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. Japan recently joined TPP negotiations, bringing the economic impact of the 12 TPP countries to 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to Minister Motegi the U.S. commitment to working with the Japanese government to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement, which will enable the Partnership to promote economic growth and regional economic integration.

Secretary Pritzker also talked with the minister about SelectUSA, President Obama’s initiative to facilitate business investment in the United States. This fall, the Commerce Department is hosting the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit to connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. economic development organizations. Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the U.S., and the Summit provides an opportunity for firms and investors to connect with U.S. cities and states in support of job creation and economic growth.

Secretary Pritzker Participates in Let's Read! Let's Move! Initiative

Secretary Penny Pritzker today joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Johnny Isakson, both members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation and former astronaut George D. Zamka, and Miss America Mallory Hagan for the third installment of the five-part initiative Let’s Read! Let’s Move! During the planets and astronauts-themed event, Secretary Pritzker read Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery to children from the Washington, DC, area.

The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is a partnership between the Department of Education (ED) and the Corporation for National and Community Service that engages children in summer reading and physical activity, as well as provides information about healthy lifestyles. Each installment supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging strong early learning programs to ensure promising futures for children.

Each of the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events this year feature book distributions, healthy snacks and fun physical activities led by the YMCA and professional athletes, including NFL, NBA and pro-tennis players. Special guest readers engage a large group of children from DC-area elementary schools and early childhood development centers, including the Health and Human Services/ED Children’s Center, a nonprofit child care and development center sponsored by the two departments.

Secretary Pritzker believes that the ability to compete in a global economy depends on a workforce that possesses skills required by employers. The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is an investment in the future of American children who will one day serve as global leaders driving the strength of American businesses to secure the foundation of our nation’s economy.