CCIA Report: Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion in Revenue

The Hill
Companies that rely on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue, according to astudy released today by the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

That’s about a quarter of the U.S. economic growth. The report concludes that fair use — an exception to the copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted materials — is crucial to new innovation.

CCIA came out with the study a day after Intellectual Property Day, during which content companies, including Hollywood and music studios, said more protections against piracy are needed.

report released yesterday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce concluded that more aggressive protections for copyrighted and patented work is necessary to spur economic growth and job creation.

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that some studies and statistics used by content industry advocates exaggerate and overstate piracy levels. CCIA took out a full-page ad in Politico today to point out the problems with the data.

“The content industry’s claimed numbers are completely baseless…” read the ad. “Unfortunately, damage has been done. These false numbers have been used to justify the DMCA, ACTA and other efforts to restrict new technologies.”

Rep. Zoe Loffgren (D-Calif.), serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved. Otherwise, content owners will control access to movies, music and art that will no longer be available for schools, research or web browsing.

She tied the copyright issue with net neutrality, which is up in the air as the FCC decides how to move forward.

Without net neutrality, she said, “content owners will completely control and lock down content….We’re going to be sorry characters when we actually don’t see fair use rights on the Web.”

Fair use is a matter of Internet freedom, she said. “If we allow our freedom to be taken for commercial purposes, we will have some explaining to do to our founding fathers and those who died for our freedom.”

Fair use is what makes search engines possible. Without the fair use doctrine in the law, indexing the Web would be illegal because it requires creating copies of Web sites.

iPods, DVD players, Tivos and other devices that allow copies to be made depend on fair use, as well as sites like Facebook, YouTube and Craigslist, Google said.

“The Internet’s very function is to make and disseminate copies of information — it couldn’t exist without limitations in copyright,” said Derek Slater, Google policy analyst, in a company blog post.

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