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House OKs Computer Review Bill<@VM>Software Piracy a Costly Problem<@VM>High-Tech Jobs Are Surging

By Kerry Gildea

The House has approved an amendment to the fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill that would expedite the reviews of computer exports.

The amendment, offered by Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., cuts from 180 days to 60 days the time Congress has to review changes to export controls, including exports to countries such as Russia and China.

While some in the high-tech industry wanted to see the review processing time cut even more ? to 30 days ? lawmakers said such as drastic cut would not clear Congress. The Senate version of the defense authorization bill does not include a similar provision, leaving open the possibility for it to be offered during floor debate on the defense bill this month.Piracy losses to the software industry exceeded $12 billion worldwide in 1999 and topped $59 billion over the past five years, according to a new survey released from the Software & Information Industry Association and the Business Software Alliance.

The 1999 software piracy estimates indicate that more than one in three business software applications in use during 1999 was pirated, according to the report released May 24. Piracy losses for the United States and Canada lead every other region of the world at $3.6 billion, or 26 percent of the total, it said.

"Software piracy continues unabated, robbing the industry of thousands of jobs, billions in wages, tax revenues and critical investments in new technologies," Robert Holleyman, Business Software Alliance president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "No industry would or should tolerate such a high rate of theft.

"The explosive growth of the Internet is making piracy even more prevalent, since pirated copies of software can be distributed and downloaded quickly and globally, with the click of a mouse," he added.The U.S. high-tech industry work force surged to 5 million in 1999, adding nearly 1.2 million workers since 1993, according to a new report released by the American Electronics Association and the Nasdaq stock market.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico added new high-tech jobs from 1997 to 1998. California, Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia led the nation in high-tech job creation, according to "Cyberstates 4.0: A State-By-State Overview of the High Technology Industry," released May 17.

"Today's U.S. high-tech industry is not only invigorating and sustaining the American economy, but that of most states as well," AEA President and CEO William T. Archey said in a statement.

The average annual wage for U.S. high-tech workers was $50,000 in 1998, the report said.

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