The Computer and Communications Industry Association has just released a study it commission to calculate the value returned to the US economy by fair use and other exceptions to copyright. We often hear stories about how much money the US economy generates by giving certain sectors and companies exclusive access knowledge and information, but it's rare to see such a quantitative approach to the value created by not creating regulatory monopolies in certain cases. Even more interesting is the sum that the study comes up with — according to the economists (who worked "in accordance with a World Intellectual Property Organization methodology"), "$4.5 trillion in revenue [was] generated by fair use dependent industries in 2006, a 31% increase since 2002, fair use industries are directly responsible for more than 18% of U.S. economic growth and nearly 11 million American jobs. In fact, nearly one out of every eight American jobs is in an industry that benefits from current limitations on copyright."
"As the United States economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, the concept of fair use can no longer be discussed and legislated in the abstract. It is the very foundation of the digital age and a cornerstone of our economy," said Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA. "Much of the unprecedented economic growth of the past ten years can actually be credited to the doctrine of fair use, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner. To stay on the edge of innovation and productivity, we must keep fair use as one of the cornerstones for creativity, innovation and, as today's study indicates, an engine for growth for our country"