As Congress and federal agencies consider stricter copyright enforcement measures such as making streaming a felony, and government-mandated Internet blacklists, and the copryight and communications sectors devise a Copyright Alert System, a new economic report to be released Monday helps illustrate the importance of a balanced approach to copyright.

Despite the economic downturn, industries that rely on fair use exceptions to copyright law remained steady compared to the rest of the U.S. economy, according to the study to be released on Capitol Hill.

The 2011 “Fair Use in the U.S. Economy” incorporates data from 2008 and 2009, showing that while GDP declined by 2.6 percent, “fair use industries” fared better than the rest of the economy. These industries make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one of every eight workers. Even with the overall job losses the past two years, the payrolls of fair use industries grew from $895 billion in 2002 to an average of $1.2 trillion during 2008 and 2009.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association commissioned the study conducted using publicly available government data and adapting a World Intellectual Property Organization methodology. The report reinforces the findings of comprehensive studies in 2007 and 2010, which demonstrate the economic importance of fair use and other exceptions to copyright.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The United States has one of the strongest cultures of innovation and clearest protections for fair use. It’s not a coincidence. Fair use is critical to the innovation economy. Much of the unprecedented growth of the tech and communications industry can be credited to the fair use doctrine. This cornerstone that fosters creativity and innovation must be protected as part of our plan for economic recovery.

“As copyright enforcement measures are increasingly put into new legislation and trade agreements, it is important to have numbers that show why fair use matters. Too often we hear about the cost of piracy without also considering the cost to legitimate sectors of the US economy of poorly targeted copyright enforcement measures like the pending Protect IP Act.

“A better understanding of the costs of overzealous copyright enforcement should help policymakers make sure new rules, legislation and trade agreements protect rightsholders as well as innovation. We hope this study will help bring understanding and a more accurate focus on balanced copyright policy.”

The study will be released at 12:30pm at the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room July 11th at lunch discussion with the economists who authored the study.

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