According to a study released this week by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), copyright-based industries added an unprecedented $1 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2012, accounting for 6.5% of the total economy. The copyright-based sector of the economy also grew faster than the national economy from 2009 – 2012 at a rate of 4.73% compared to a rate of 2.14% for the rest of the national economy. Nearly 5.4 million people are employed in copyright-based industries, and those employees generally make 33% more than the average annual wage. The main industries that are part of the core copyright industry include computer software, videogames, books, newspapers, periodicals, journals, motion pictures, music, radio, and TV broadcasting.
These impressive statistics indicate the importance of continuing to provide support and incentives in the core copyright-based industries. To do so, it is crucial that copyright law strikes the right balance between protecting property rights and fostering creation. Proper and enforceable intellectual property protection is indispensible to promoting and maintaining a vibrant copyright-driven sector, and a healthy digital age economy as a whole. The author who conducted the study for IIPA, Steven Metalitz of Economists, Inc. stated, “to foster continued growth of this dynamic sector, we need strong and modern copyright laws that take into account changes in technology and the continuing harm caused by copyright piracy, especially as legitimate digital distributors continue to emerge.”
For more on the proper approach to intellectual property protection in a digital age economy, see the series of Perspectives from FSF Scholars by Free State Foundation President Randolph May and Research Fellow Seth Cooper: