CCIA Releases Report on Fair Use in the US Economy

Mike Palmedo
April 27, 2010

Today the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) released its report “Fair Use in the U.S. Economy,” which measures the economic contributions of industries that rely on flexibilities in copyright law.  These contributions are massive, yet they are often overlooked in the debate over the strengthening of IP enforcement.  The report finds that in 2007, industries reliant on fair use produced

  • $2.2 trillion in value added (revenue minus costs).  This amounted to 16.2% of GDP
  • 23% of real economic growth over the prior five years
  • $281 billion in exports
  • Employment for 17.5 million Americans (in jobs with higher-than-average compensation)
  • Productivity gains that were 28% higher than the national average

CCIA President & CEO Ed Black announced the report at a panel on Capitol Hill, saying:

In a knowledge-based economy, having numbers that show why fair use matters is critical as legislation is made and trade agreements are negotiated.  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.

Representative Zoe Lofgren spoke, expressing hope that the report would help people understand the importance of the balancing features of copyright law.  She quoted the section of Constitution giving Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;” then warned that much of the modern discourse has tended towards ever-higher protections for IP, which was not the original intent of the framers.  She warned that the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement is problematic because it attempts to further block access to content, and it lacks protection of the flexibilities needed for creative industries.  A better goal for trade negotiations would be a “freedom agenda” that promotes greater expression and innovation.  

PIJIP Professor Peter Jaszi also spoke at the event, noting that a previous version of this report issued in 2007 had a positive impact on the debate over the effect of intellectual property on creative industries and the US economy as a whole.  He explained that many of the industries which are often referred to as “copyright industries” would not exist today without fair use and other flexibilities in copyright law.

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