Copyright Industries Provided $931 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2010, According to Study

Industries like movies, TV, music, books and software accounted for 6.4% of the nation’s total gross domestic product last year.

Industries like movies, TV, music, books and software that create intellectual property continue to grow faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, according to an annual report issued Wednesday in Washington, D.C. by the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

Despite the recession since 2008, what the report calls “the copyright industries” have continued to grow faster than other business segments. The core copyright industries grew an annual rate of 1.1% from 2007 to 2010, and the total copyright industries (and those dependent on them) grew at an annual rate of 1.47%.

The overall economy during that period grew only half of one percent.

According to the report, copyright industries added over $931.8 billion in value to the U.S. economy last year, which is about 6.4% of the nation’s total gross domestic product.

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When you add in other industries whose revenue is dependent on the copyright industries, the value added in 2010 was $1.6 trillion, which is just over 11% of U.S. G.D.P.

These industries employ nearly 5.1 million U.S. workers, or about 5% of all private sector employment, and 3.93% of the entire U.S. workforce.  When you account for the total impact on copyright industries and those dependent on them, they employ 10.6 million American workers (8.19% of all employment).

More importantly, those jobs pay an average of 27% more than the rest of the jobs in the American workforce.

The American copyright industries accounted for $134 billion in foreign sales and exports, which is more than such sectors as aircraft, authors and agriculture.

Sales of U.S. copyright products outside the country were $134 billion in 2010. That compares to the number two seller, aircraft, which had sales of $77.5 billion in the same  year.

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The study was released at an event on Capitol Hill attended by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), who are leaders of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus (IAPC).

The author of the study is Stephen Siwek of Economists Incorporated.

“In a struggling economy that has 9 percent or more unemployment, America’s creative community -- those whose jobs and businesses are involved in the production of movies, music, books, and other forms of intellectual property – can be a driving force for putting Americans back to work,” said Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs for the MPAA. “Year after year, the creativity of the American copyright industries continue to entertain and educate audiences around the world, in addition to being a powerful economic stimulus.”

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O’Leary added a warning: “But the threat posed by the theft of the products we create is real and has a direct impact on the nearly 5.1 million workers employed by the creative community.”

The report addressed the piracy issue as well: “Widespread online and physical piracy of copyright materials undermines the vitality and vibrancy of creative industries. Economic reports such as this one underscore what is at stake. They provide a compelling argument for more effective legal, enforcement, and market access regimes to promote and foster the growth of the content-based industries in the U.S., and in national economies around the world.”

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