WIPO Report Shows Strong Economic Contribution Of Copyright

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The World Intellectual Property Organization has prepared a report on the economic contribution of copyright industries in various large and small countries around the world, and industry supporters hailed it as evidence that the impact on GDP and jobs is significant, if varied.

The analysis in the report is based on 30 national studies completed as of December 2011, it says. WIPO has previously published guidelines for gathering such data. Countries studied ranged from Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.

The role of copyright industries in the countries studied varies substantially but is significant in all of them, according to WIPO’s research. The report, provided by IIPI, does not appear to be readily available on WIPO’s website, and its author is unclear. The report is available here [pdf].

The report shows a “strong and positive” relationship between the contribution to GDP and the existence of a well-established legal and political system. And it shows a “strong and positive” relationship between the GDP contribution and a “freedom index” that shows measures such as levels of trade and fiscal freedom, corruption, property rights. It further found a “positive and highly significant” relationship between a “Global Innovation Index” and creativity, as well as a research and development indicator correlating “highly and significantly” with the share of the creative industries to GDP.

Copyright industries make up an average of 5.4 percent of GDP and represent 5.9 percent of national employment, it found.

The report also shows breakouts of different types and size of copyright industry in each country, and the amount of employment in each.

The International Intellectual Property Institute held an event on 26 January in Washington, DC at which the report was presented.

IIPI Chairman Bruce Lehman, a former US IP official, said in a statement that the study “demonstrates unequivocally that effective copyright protection supports job creation and economic growth. Policymakers should be mindful of weak copyright protection that would undermine the economic foundation of the creative industries.” The US Congress has been debating copyright legislation in recent weeks.

The Copyright Alliance in Washington, DC, also praised the report.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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