Study Shows Fair Use Industries Make Up One Sixth Of The Economy

BY Heather Greenfield
June 9, 2017

Washington — As policymakers consider IP policy and trade agreement updates like the NAFTA renegotiation, balanced copyright language remains as important as ever. The Computer & Communications Industry Association released a study in conjunction with Capital Trade, Inc. on Friday, “Fair Use in the Economy 2017,” that found that value added by industries that depend on limitations and exceptions to copyright like the fair use doctrine tripled since 2002. The study found that in 2014 fair use industries accounted for 16 percent of the economy, employed 1 in 8 workers and contributed $2.8 trillion to the GDP.

Economist and report co-author Andrew Szamosszegi said the study found that industries that depend on fair use “constitute one-sixth of the economy. That’s a huge number.” He later added that other countries are already considering strengthening fair use protections and described how to structure a study to estimate the trade benefits if Mexico and Canada were to adopt fair use.

Congressman Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Congressman Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, jointly announced the updated study in a live webcast. Rep. Farenthold noted that the right balance in copyright law is important for innovation and for people to have rights to resell the products they own.

Rep. Polis said the copyright system would be “unworkable” if innovators can’t build on each others’ work. “The more we know about the fair use economy, the better Democrats and Republicans can formulate policies for economic growth,” Rep. Polis said.

This is the 10th anniversary of CCIA’s research initiative on the fair use economy.  The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Matt Schruers, who moderated Friday’s webcast:

“As the U.S. considers trade agreements and other policies, objective data quantifying the economic benefit of balanced copyright is critically important. Fair use protections are crucial here at home and would promote U.S. exports, enabling U.S. industries to expand overseas.”

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