The United States' core copyright industries – including music, books, videogames, computer software, film, TV and radio broadcasting, printed and electronic media – contributed a record $1.2 trillion to the country's economy in 2015 and accounted for 5.5 million jobs, according to the findings of a new report unveiled on December 6.
The study showed the importance for the US economy of exporting products from copyright industries, as they accounted for $177 billion in overseas sales in 2015. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) also noted that the growth of copyright-driven products outpaced exports of other major US industries, such as chemicals ($135.8 billion) or aerospace ($134.6 billion).
As a percentage of the GDP, copyright industries accounted for 6.88% in 2015, up from 6.71% in 2014. Between 2012 and 2015, the core copyright industries grew at an aggregate rate of 4.81%, which was 127% greater than the growth rate for the entire US economy (2.11%).
The report – titled Copyright Industries In The US Economy: The 2016 Report and penned by economist Stephen Siweck– was published by the IIPA, a Washington DC-based a private sector coalition of associations representing US copyright-based industries.
It was presented in Washington in the presence of several policy-makers who all highlighted the intricate connection between the achievements of these industries and strong copyright laws offering high levels of protection. They also highlighted the fact that copyright issues on Capitol Hill were bi-partisan issues.
“The reason why we are the gem of the world in creativity is because we have copyright protections,” said Congressman Doug Collins, vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and co-Cchair of the Creative Rights Caucus.
Collins added that such a positive situation should not be taken for granted. “If we are not vigilant, it will go away,” he said, who also made a plea to reach out to digital natives and promote the value of intellectual property.
“Copyright protection is essential to our economy,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu from California, member of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Member, and Co-Chair of the Creative Rights Caucus.
She added that having evidence of the importance on the creative industries to the economy helped her make the case for strong intellectual property laws “so that we can continue to support these vital industries.”
In a very succinct speech, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and dean of the House of Representatives, said the report was about “jobs, jobs, and more jobs.”
The report did not offer a breakdown results by industries but reps from the music industry in Washington said that what mattered was the overall message that copyright industries were a key job provider and experienced strong economic growth.
Cary Sherman, chairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association Of America, a member of IIPA, reiterated that this could only be achieved if the industries continued to benefit from strong copyright legislation.
Sherman said: “The incredible numbers in this report further underscore the critical need for the Librarian Of Congress to appoint a new Register Of Copyrights who understands the intricacies of the law and respects the enormous value provided by creators.”
Members of the IIPA include the Association Of American Publishers, Entertainment Software Association, Independent Film & Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, and Recording Industry Association of America.