The True Value of Copyright

There’s plenty of intangible value inherent in one of our nation’s constitutionally protected property right’s – copyright. Copyright fosters creativity: the creativity at the heart of our favorite songs, movies, books, and artwork.

It assures creators that the winding creative process – the writers’ blocks, the endless sketches, the sleepless nights in dark studios – is worth it.

But what about the tangible value of copyright?

This week, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) released a report on the economic impact of copyright, revealing that copyright-intensive industries contributed a whopping $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015.

These industries employ more than 5.5 million American workers.

The report suggests these numbers will only continue to grow.

In 2015, copyright-intensive industries grew at an annual rate of 4.81%; the average annual rate of the entire U.S. economy during the same period was only 2.11%.

In other words, copyright-intensive industries grew at a rate more than 127% greater than the remainder of the U.S. economy.

To celebrate this value – and the value of IP-intensive industries as a whole – the Global Intellectual Property Center hosted the IP Champions Awards Gala.

The Gala brought together leaders and change-makers throughout the creative community.

CEO Robin Bronk received the IP Champion Award for Excellence in Advocacy on behalf of The Creative Coalition, the star-studded non-profit advocacy group that keeps creative rights top-of-mind for legislators, media, and the public.

While actor Richard Kind’s contributions to the creative community may be hard to count – he has wowed in over 180 roles in the past 30 years – his contribution as an advocate for creative rights must certainly grace his resume. He, too, received an IP Champion Award for Excellence in Advocacy.

The IP community awarded musicians Mark McGrath and Billy Morrison the IP Champion Award for Excellence in Creativity.

In their own words, McGrath and Morrison understand, “Copyright protections enable musicians to earn their livings bringing hits to fans throughout the world.”

Read their piece “Protect America’s Creative Future.”

Oscar award-winning producer Bruce Cohen has shared similar sentiments as an advocate in the entertainment industry. His movies – American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook, and Big Fish, among others – are a testament to the cultural impacts of copyright.

Cohen also received an IP Champion Award for Excellence in Creativity.

Creative Future CEO Ruth Vitale, an IP Champion in her own right, presented the award to Cohen.

These IP Champions embody the true spirit of the creative community and the recognized potential copyright offers.

However you measure the value of copyright, it’s clear: we must protect copyright and the creators and creative works it inspires.

Read more about the 2016 IP Champions.

Frank Cullen is executive director of U.S. intellectual property policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center. 

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