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Copyright industries add $1.2trn to US economy

December 8, 2016

By Colin Mann

Joined by Members of Congress, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) – a private sector coalition of associations representing US copyright-based industries – has released a detailed report highlighting a record $1.2 trillion (€1.11trn) economic contribution by the core copyright industries to the US economy. The report – Copyright Industries in the US Economy: The 2016 Report – also reveals the core copyright industries employed over 5.5 million American workers, accounting for 3.87 per cent of the entire US workforce, and 4.57 per cent of total private employment in the nation.

Some additional key 2015 economic figures contained in the report include:

  • The value added by the core copyright industries to US GDP – $1.2 trillion dollars – accounted for 6.88 per cent of the US economy.
  • The average annual compensation paid to core copyright workers – $93,221– is 38 per cent higher than the average annual compensation paid to all US workers – $67,715.
  • Between 2012 and 2015, the core copyright industries grew at an aggregate annual rate of 4.81 per cent, 127 per cent greater than the growth rate for the entire US economy over the same period – 2.11 per cent.
  • Sales of major US copyright products in overseas markets amounted to $177 billion in 2015, a significant increase over previous years, outpacing exports of other major US industries.

Overall, the study measures the economic contribution of a wide array of industries principally responsible for the creation and distribution of copyright content that consumers enjoy and use every day including books, music, videogames, computer software, motion pictures, TV and radio broadcasting, newspapers, and periodicals and journals.

Prominent Members of Congress expressed support for the findings:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair said, “Creativity unleashes endless possibilities as evidenced by the results of this study. The contributions made by the creative industry to the US economy are remarkable. It’s imperative that we continue pushing to protect intellectual property rights.”

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member added, “IIPA’s report demonstrates clearly that copyright-related industries play an important role in job creation and promoting the health of our Nation’s economy. The information in this report will help the Judiciary Committee as we work to modernise the Copyright Act for the 21st Century.”

“Creativity ungirds the 21st century economy, and strong intellectual property rights ensure that our economy benefits from the innovation and pluck of American workers who bring many of our dreams to life,” said Rep. Doug Collins, House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Vice Chair, and Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chair. “Our nation’s founders, in their wisdom, placed intellectual property rights under the umbrella of our protected Constitutional rights. From the beginning, Congress has had the responsibility of upholding and strengthening those rights—which fuel American ingenuity—and I look forward to moving forward down that path.”

“I founded the Creative Rights Caucus in order to help amplify the work of creators in Congress,” said Rep. Judy Chu, House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Member, and Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chair. “And now, thanks again to this impressive report from IIPA, we can see the important impacts of core copyright industries to our country. Creative industries form a key part of economies across the country, and they provide good, high paying jobs, that are growing faster than the economy on average. I’m proud to have many of these workers in my district, which neighbours creative hubs in Los Angeles. This report makes it clear that copyright protection is an economic imperative for my district and the rest of the nation.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Chairman, said: “America’s creative potential is absolutely limitless. These individuals make incredible contributions to job creation and the overall economic well-being of our nation, as evidenced in the results of this study. It’s my hope the numbers released today will paint a clear picture for Members of Congress, the new administration and stakeholders across the country of just how important these industries are.”

“The creative works that are supported by our strong copyright ecosystem – music, movies, TV, books, software, and games – truly tie us together as a nation,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Member, and Songwriters Caucus Co-Chair. “They offer Americans and the rest of the world amazing ways to share knowledge. From songwriters to graphic artists, the many hardworking folks behind the household names are a testament to the widespread significance and economic impact of a robust copyright system.”

“IIPA is honoured and pleased by the bipartisan support provided for the release of the 2016 Economic Contributions report,” Steven Metalitz, counsel to IIPA, added. “We are confident that the report will be of value to Members of Congress, to the new Administration, and to all those charged with developing copyright laws and policies. As the report demonstrates, these policies are of critical importance to our economy, to good American jobs, and to our global competitiveness.”

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