Fair Use Connected to Economic Strength, Study Shows
A new study shows that industries that rely on fair use have weathered the recession better than the economy as a whole, and have seen significant growth in recent years. The study divides industries into core industries such as software development, publishing, education, and the performing arts, whose production depends heavily on fair use, and non-core industries such as printing, electronics sales, and broadcasting, whose activities facilitate the core industries and which depend on their continued viability. In total, these industries employ one out of every eight U.S. workers and contribute approximately 17% of the U.S. GDP.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which commissioned the study, released similar studies in 2007 and 2010. Though the previous studies had similar findings about the impact and importance of fair use industries, the new study is the first to incorporate data from 2009, the beginning of the economic downturn. Like all sectors of the U.S. economy, fair use industries were hit by the recession, but showed only moderate drops, maintaining levels close to those of 2007 in such areas as payroll, value added to the economy, and exports.
Although the number of workers employed has shown only small gains since 2002, the total payroll has increased significantly, with core industries showing a 41% payroll increase (18% in real dollars) and non-core industries showing a 26% increase (6% in real dollars). Compare this to a mere 22% increase in the National Average Wage Index over the same period.
The most impressive figure may be the export market. At a time when the U.S. trade deficit is growing, fair use industries provided export revenue of $266.3 billion in 2009. Particularly impressive, given the economic climate, are the numbers for exported services (as opposed to real goods), which barely fell from 2008 levels.
Hopefully, this study will be read by lawmakers, who need to recognize that strict copyright enforcement may not be the best strategy for growing the economy.