By Brendan Sasso - 05/23/12 06:50 PM EDT
Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) touted the importance of protecting intellectual property at an event on Capitol Hill to announce the study's findings.
"Intellectual property protection isn't just about music labels and movie studios," Coons said. "It's about more than students in college dorms downloading pirated copies of the latest song or movie. It is about safety for consumers, and it's about jobs for American workers and American families."
But he admitted that Congress's most recent attempt to beef up intellectual property protections backfired badly.
Coons was a co-sponsor of the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), the Senate's version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bills would have forced Internet companies to cut off access to foreign pirate sites, but Congress dropped the legislation after massive protests.
The Chamber of Commerce was one of the most vocal supporters of the legislation.
Coons said it was "truly memorable" when one of his sons shook him awake and asked "why I wanted to break the Internet and why Justin Bieber thought I should go to jail."
The pop star had suggested that supporters of the Protect IP Act should be arrested after a campaign against the bill had claimed it could result in Bieber going to jail for singing songs that belonged to other artists.
"That was my first warning that we were not communicating effectively," Coons said. He added that he believes some elements of SOPA "overreached" and "really did pose some risk to the Internet."
But he emphasized the importance of intellectual property to the country's economy.
Grassley said intellectual property is critical to "all states, big or small" and that the intellectual property industries can boost other sectors of the economy.
—Updated at 4:30 p.m.