Here’s how much copyright contributes to the US economy

We talk a lot about the value of copyright protection — no surprise there. Copyright fosters creativity and leads to the development of culturally rich and historically significant works of art. It allows creators to reap the benefits of the time and effort they’ve devoted to their creative endeavors. It’s a driving force behind our preservation efforts.

But if we had to put a price tag on it, exactly how much is copyright worth in the United States

An impressive $954 billion!

This week, in an update to its 2012 study, the U.S. Department of Commerce — in conjunction with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Economics and Statistics Administration — released a new report, Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update, which looks at the value that “IP-intensive industries” contribute to the U.S. economy. The report zeros in on patent, trademark, and copyright-dependent industries, focusing on job creation, income, and gross domestic product (GDP).

The study, which defines copyright-intensive industries as “those primarily responsible for the creation or production of copyrighted materials” found that these industries are directly responsible for 5.6 million jobs in the workforce, and indirectly responsible for an additional 2.8 million jobs. Not only is copyright creating jobs, its creating jobs that pay well. In 2014, workers outside of IP industries were earning, on average, $896 per week. Within copyright-intensive industries, this number nearly doubles to roughly $1,701. What’s most impressive, though, is the monetary value that these industries add to the economy as a whole. According to the report, 5.5% of the GDP — or $954 billion — is attributable to industries that rely on copyright.

Average weekly earnings: $1,701/week. Gross domestic product: $954 billion. Promoting the progress of science and the useful arts: Priceless.

photo credit: NicoElNino/iStock/thinkstock

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