These past few years as the tech industry as boomed so has a movement to condemn copyright as being obsolete and/or unnecessary. Some. in fact, view copyright protections a hinderance to their beloved (and biased) concept of “innovation.” Such anti-copyright activists are myopic when it comes defining “innovation” and repeatedly fail to recognize that those who depend on copyright to protect their livelihoods are, in fact, are in fact true “innovators.”
Today we have a new study published by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, that documents just how significant “copyright” is to our national economy. The report, “Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy,” The report examines the impact the copyright “industry” has had on the U.S. economy from 2009 to 2012, a period in which the U.S. economy was still recovering from 2008 free-fall. Unlike many other sectors of the economy, jobs in the copyright sector as a percentage of U.S. employment grew:
The core copyright industries employed 5,178,100 workers in 2009, representing 3.96% of the total U.S. workforce. By 2012, the number of core copyright employees in the United States had increased by 221,00 workers to 5,399, 100. These workers represented 4.04% of the total U.S. workforce in 2012.
The report was released as Congress begins a series of hearings on copyright law and what, if any, revisions should be considered. Clearly, as lawmakers debate the issue, these statistics would seem to support the concept that copyright is, and should remain, a fundamental “incentive” for those who create, and disseminate creative content that consumers enjoy: films, music, books, software, games, etc. As Sandra Aistars, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance notes in a statement issued today in response to the report:
…copyright owners of all backgrounds work actively and creatively to ensure their work is easily accessible and can be enjoyed as widely as possible. Copyright is not an impediment to innovation and distribution — it is rather the erosion of these rights that would harm consumers the most, by diminishing the abilities of creators to create and creative industries to invest in funding and disseminating their work.
While these figures are positive news in terms of U.S. “copyright industries” ongoing contribution to our overall economy, we must remain vigilant to make sure that the independent creators among us–those whose work may be difficult to measure statistically–are included in future discussions around copyright reform. These independents, who often reflect creative voices on the margins are in many respects the most vulnerable, and theirs is work that should be treasured and protected.