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Study: Fair Use Drives Large Part of US Economy 70

Posted by timothy
from the all-depends-who's-counting-and-how dept.
angry tapir writes "Industries that rely on fair use exceptions to U.S. copyright law have weathered the recent slow economy better than other businesses, according to a new study released by a tech trade group. The fair use industries, including consumer device makers, software developers, search engines and news organizations, had US$4.5 trillion in revenue in 2009, up from $3.4 trillion in 2002, according to the study, commissioned by the Computer and Communications Industry (CCIA) Association. Fair use businesses make up about 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to the study. The study shows the importance of fair use exceptions in copyright law, said Ed Black, CCIA's president and CEO."
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Study: Fair Use Drives Large Part of US Economy

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:18AM (#36731836) Journal
    Please, please, "Industries built on Intellectual Property Theft have further imperiled other sectors of the economy during the recent economic downturn."

    xoxo, RIAA/MPAA.
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      In a surprising turn of events, "Thieves have weathered economic down turn because their income is not directly tired to economic success. In other news, freeloads can succeed in any economic climate." News at 11.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Please, please, "Industries built on Intellectual Property Theft have further imperiled other sectors of the economy during the recent economic downturn."

      xoxo, RIAA/MPAA.

      The hooker and blow industries may never recover if more drastic Intellectual property protection measures are not enacted immediately.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:19AM (#36731844) Journal

    Fair use businesses make up about 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to the study.

    From the report:

    Fair use-related industry value added in 2008 and 2009 averaged $2.4 trillion, approximately 17 percent of total U.S. current dollar GDP. Value added equals a firm's total output minus its purchases of intermediate inputs and is the best measurement of an industry's economic contribution to national GDP.

    It's the value added, not the total fair use businesses. After reading the study, I think what they're trying to say is that everyone benefits by some amount of money to be able to access -- say -- non-copyrightable facts online presents a benefit to many businesses and that added value equates to 17 percent of the total U.S. current dollar GDP by their estimates.

    • non-copyrightable facts online

      I have not RTFA to know whether it is adopting a strict definition or not, but non-copyrightable facts are not examples of fair use - they are examples of something which falls outside the copyright regime. In other words, they are unencumbered, and exist in the public domain.

      Fair use relates to the use of works which are subject to copyright, but where the usage is considered to be outside the scope of the reserved rights which copyright grants.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:35AM (#36731958) Journal

        I have not RTFA to know whether it is adopting a strict definition or not, but non-copyrightable facts are not examples of fair use - they are examples of something which falls outside the copyright regime.

        In this case I would suggest you at least throw a cursory glance at the actual report [ccianet.org] (PDF warning) because from page 15 they list some examples of how "Other Information Services industry (NAICS 519)" benefit of Fair Use and Other Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright Law (which is what this report is targeting). They list several statutory provisions like: 102(a) non-copyrightability of facts, 102(b) idea/expression dichotomy, 107 fair use: criticism; comment; news reporting; browser, cache copies; teaching; scholarship; research, 108 library uses, 109 first-sale doctrine, 512 ISP safe harbors, 302-304 copyright term and 105 no copyright in U.S. Government works. Granted, those are very brief descriptions of what are undoubtedly lengthy legalese but I hope that someone makes it clear that this report is not referring strictly to just fair use in the sense that you are speaking of. It's talking about fair use related industries that rely on provisions like the above.

        I think a better description would be "All Limiting Exceptions to Copyright" than "Fair Use" for this particular study. Side note: I think you can see how Google and others benefit from the protection under cache copies to a very large degree.

        • It's talking about fair use related industries that rely on provisions like the above.

          Appreciated - thank you.

          I think you can see how Google and others benefit from the protection under cache copies to a very large degree.

          Absolutely - as well as the not-related-to-fair-use-but-also-vital shields of liability of online intermediaries.

      • by tepples (727027)
        There are several meanings of fair use. The narrowest is the courtroom meaning of "fair use", referring only to the four-factor test of 17 USC section 107 and foreign counterparts. Next is 17 USC 107-123, 512, 1008, and the like giving a bunch of uses of a copyrighted work that aren't grounds for an infringement suit. Finally, and most broadly, "fair use" is sometimes used as a broad metaphor for any statutory or case law limitation on the scope of copyright. Consider that some countries don't have broad e
  • Low estimate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tiltowait (306189) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:19AM (#36731848) Homepage Journal

    I'm a librarian. My entire profession would not exist if not for similar provisions.

    • Re:Low estimate (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @11:01AM (#36734202) Homepage Journal

      Existence of professions isn't necessarily a good thing. Not to knock your profession (it applies equally to mine or anyone else's) but if anything could come along and provide the same value while eliminating the profession of librarian (or computer programmer) (or hand wheat thresher) (or stableboy or street-dung shoveler) that would be a net gain to the economy.

      This is one of the terrible problems with dealing with government-minded people and their "jobs, jobs, jobs" slogans. They think of economic value as happening (and only happening) when taxable transactions take place. If cheap cold fusion or teleporters come along, that's economic damage, in their eyes. If a hurricane comes along and creates construction jobs, that's an economic boon to them.

      They pretty much say this crap all the time now in the United States, and they say it in public and don't even get ridiculed for it. People nod their heads and cheer. It's crazy.

      • by tiltowait (306189)

        Yes, point taken... "My entire profession" should be "Libraries" above.

        As a reference librarian, my main goal is to be Bablyon 5. I'd love it if we succeeded in creating a powerful enough search and retrieval tool with an intuitive interface that negated the need for library user instruction. My career mission is to work towards this ideal. It would, just as how B5 succeeded in its mission so much so that it was no longer necessary, make a large part of what librarians now do obsolete.

        • by Miseph (979059)

          I assume Babylon 5's mission was to wring the last general interest in a sci-fi TV series...

        • by Sloppy (14984)

          As a reference librarian, my main goal is to be Bablyon 5. I'd love it if we succeeded in creating a powerful enough search and retrieval tool with an intuitive interface that negated the need for library user instruction.

          That sounds cool but I'll take 2011 tech searching over 2260 tech [midwinter.com] any day. (Watch the episode.)

          ;-) Just picking nits. I loved B5 but boy did it mispredict text searching.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Actually I believe this is why the current trading labor for money system will simply have to end if we are to go forward as a race. Look up "MIT wants to eliminate cooks" to see some of the tech on the drawing board, for they have a "food machine" that "prints" the food like a 3D printer, cooks it, slices it, and spits it out the end, kinda like a slower version of a replicator.

        It seems pretty obvious to most of us that we are currently playing musical chairs based on IQ and each year there are simply less

        • As for TFA this is part of a discussion we've been having at Linux Insider [linuxinsider.com] (Just FYI I'm quoted in part of the article) on FOSS and the freeloader problem. I personally believe the GPL and other FOSS licenses need a "free for non commercial use ONLY" clause to allow FOSS developers the funds required to maintain and grow the code. In great economic times one can get by with the "tin cup donation or support" model but as the economy sinks you will see more and more that used to pay simply becoming freeloaders. If a corp is making money off FOSS then they should have to kick back a few bucks, it is only fair. After all if it wasn't for FOSS they wouldn't be making the massive profits like they do, so kicking a small amount of the profits to those that did the work is only fair and just IMHO. This would make it better for everyone, including the corps whom I'm sure would find a way to take it off their taxes and would benefit from more bug fixing and more developers writing FOSS code, which in turn benefits us all.

          From my experience "free for non commercial use" usually means "free" to most companies. Open Source means no licensing cost.

        • by Sloppy (14984)

          It seems pretty obvious to most of us that we are currently playing musical chairs based on IQ and each year there are simply less chairs.

          No, not yet. Ideally that would be the case but we're really not anywhere close to that yet. It's just hard to see/find the chairs. Very hard. I assure you they exist, though.

          There's always something that needs to get done. Every time I moan "I'm bored," there's some entrepreneurial genius out there somewhere, cursing how few hours there are in the day.

          I don't say t

  • "We should be able to get no less than 450 billion in fees from these thieves. Lawyers, to the courtrooms!!!" - Unknown RIAA exec.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by rnaiguy (1304181)

      "Our thieves should be able to get no less than 450 billion in fees from these thieves. Lawyers, to the courtrooms!!!" - Unknown RIAA exec.

      FTFY

  • Fair Use Drives Large Part of US Economy

    but to have fair use you need someone to create the content in the first place

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Yes, people write and sell books all the time and you can go to the library and read a book without having to buy one. What's your point?

      • My point was fairuse business is all good, but it can only exist on top of people creating the content. Most of the time those people want to be compensated, and that's fair too. I love free and open source, use it and participate in it, but that does not pay the rent or the food. If a car company published all their design documents to the public domain, you can bet there'd be a big mess in that industry. Although it would be fun to watch!
        • by nschubach (922175)

          Free/Open source can and does pay the bills for many people. Also, I'd love to see free and open designs in the automotive industry. We might actually have competitively priced top end cars for the middle class. I'd bet you might actually have real third party support form that as well instead of relying on OEM parts for everything.

        • by Miseph (979059)

          I don't believe that there would be. Car manufacturing requires a huge amount of capital. There is also an expectation of quality and a trust relationship between customers and manufacturers. The only people who would be getting information they don't already have would be people not currently involved in the industry: it's no secret to Toyota how a Honda works, and neither is confounding GM either. They can already copy each other quite effectively, and frequently do, but instead they put quite a bit of ef

    • Re:yes, but (Score:4, Insightful)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <`VortexCortex' ` ... -retrograde.com'> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @09:16AM (#36732374) Homepage

      The fashion industry has no copyright protections, just Trademarks...

      I suppose next you'll tell me that new clothing lines will never be created, and the fashion industry is doomed.

    • but to have fair use you need someone to create the content in the first place

      And people always will. Empires rise and fall, monetary systems collapse, styles of government come and go, but there will always be people creating content, even if they're not being compensated for it.

      I'm not sure if you were trying to make one of those "but who will create if we don't pay people to do it?" statements, but it kinda sounded that way. No offense meant, of course, just pointing out that capitalism is not what drives creativity; it's certainly nice, but the two certainly are not intrinsical

    • by MacTO (1161105)

      People have created regardless of copyright and patent protection, and I doubt that any particular industry would collapse if we revoked those protections tomorrow. That being said, individual businesses would probably collapse since their business models depend upon those protections and we'd probably see more incremental oneupmanship than revolutionary progress (but I suspect the end result would be the same).

      • by Miseph (979059)

        I feel like I should give the example of Elizabethan theater. There were virtually no copy protections, and plays were routinely copied by competing troupes without compensation. Not only did this give us Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest literary figure in the history of the English language, but drove enormous innovation in terms of the technical aspects of theater: staging, writing, producing, casting, marketing, set/prop use, stage and facility construction, acting style, pacing, format, stage direction

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:55AM (#36732088)

    Ah, but if we had extremely restrictive copyright rules in place benefiting big companies (where "big companies" = RIAA/MPAA and not bigger, low-copyright companies like clothing designers), that $4.5 trillion would have been $89.6 quadrillion.*

    * Study funded by the RIAA/MPAA. Figured based on completely unbiased** mathematical modeling.***

    ** Where "unbiased" means "completely biased."

    *** "mathematical modeling" means "we pulled some big numbers out of our posteriors."

    • by stewbee (1019450)
      You're doing your foot notes all wrong. They are too easy to find. Might I suggest creating a new comment ( possibly even in an entirely different topic from the /. home page) to bury your foot notes in. This is the true way to obfuscate your points while appearing to be a referenced paper or piece of evidence.
    • $89.6 quadrillion

      *** "mathematical modeling" means "we pulled some big numbers out of our posteriors."

      They've gotta have some huge posteriors!

      Cheers,

      • $89.6 quadrillion

        *** "mathematical modeling" means "we pulled some big numbers out of our posteriors."

        They've gotta have some huge posteriors!

        Cheers,

        Of course. They didn't become Fat Cats for nothing.

    • Ah, but if we had extremely restrictive copyright rules in place benefiting big companies (where "big companies" = RIAA/MPAA and not bigger, low-copyright companies like clothing designers), that $4.5 trillion would have been $89.6 quadrillion.*

      * Study funded by the RIAA/MPAA. Figured based on completely unbiased** mathematical modeling.***

      ** Where "unbiased" means "completely biased."

      *** "mathematical modeling" means "we pulled some big numbers out of our posteriors."

      Bad footnotes. Should be:

      ** "unbiased" here is an abbreviation for up-number biased
      *** "mathematical modelling" here refers to the creative process of getting numbers from respectable sources****
      **** "respectable sources" refers to the posterior of the authors. It's the only thing they respect.

  • "Copyright maximialists are anti-business, anti-economic-growth, anti-jobs."

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @09:21AM (#36732466)

    Most of us make use of or benefit from fairn use countless times every day. This morning I watched a news show that showed god knows how many trademarked images, copyrighted clips, personal images, snips of audio, etc. I hummed a song I liked. I emailed a joke I had overheard to a friend. I downloaded a ungodly number of copyrighted images to my PC as part of my morning web browsing.

    There are countless incidents of fair use we each do every day without even thinking about it. Can you even imagine a world where that WASN'T the case? Where humming a copyrighted song without permission was a criminal offense? Where news reports weren't allowed to use any copyrighted or trademarked images/audio/etc.? Where web browsing meant signing a copyright agreement with every website?

  • While scavenging may be intellectually frugal, creation is the maidenhood of civilization.

    Rather than torrent that next low grade horror film, why not write a word, a sentence, a paragraph -- anything -- snuff, hate, poem, story, flame and put it up on a blog, email, or otherwise share it. Then you will have added to the world rather than recycling it.

    And it is so easy to be novel. Virtually everything you utter more than a few words has probably never been heard or seen before in the history of the world.

    F

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Any creative act is also a form of scavenging.

    • by amusenet (2084500)
      If you wanted to do this in a postmodern and ironic way, you could type "the death of the author" into Google and find who originally wrote this phrase and where it came from.
    • by neminem (561346)
      Why not do both at once? Get Your Bootleg On! (Even if that term for mashup is rather archaic, in internet-time.)
  • Copyright is terribly abused by big corporations and cartels that want to suck money out of everyone. However, copyright's original intent was to encourage creating of original content. IMHO, corporations should have very limited copyright protection, whereas individual artists should have rights bordering on the draconian. This should apply in many cases even when you're paid a salary for what you create, but it's especially applicable if you license your creation to a company after you've completed it,

  • Johanna Blakley: Lessons from fashion's free culture [ted.com]

    Long story short: there is very little IP protection in the fashion industry (both in the U.S. and worldwide) and they do very well, thankyouverymuch. It's a surprisingly interesting video from a geek's point of view. It's like a game, really: here are the rules, here are the limitations, now solve the problem and check out the unexpected results.

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