Friday, November 25, 2011

IIPA Study Shows the Economic Impact of the Copyright Industry

While copyright has certainly become more prevalent in our society, I do not believe most people understand the impact that copyright has on the U.S. economy. The recent International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) study released this month shows just how much impact the copyright industry has. The copyright industry employs over 5 million people in the U.S. The average salary exceeds the national average by more than 25%. The industry and those built around the industry make up over 10% of the national gross domestic product.

Not only does the copyright industry make up a significant amount of the domestic economy but its products are significant exports as well. Over $130 billion dollars in sales are made overseas. That's more than airplanes and cars.

The report is available on the IIPA website. The report was prepared by Stephen E. Siwek of Economists Incorporated.

Numbers like these explain the powerful lobbying power of the copyright industry. Regulation is also very significant to protect the copyright interests. It seems fairly clear that computer software is a driving force behind most of the copyright figures.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

YouTube Case Heard By Second Circuit

Last month, the Second Circuit heard arguments in the Viacom v. YouTube appeal.

Summary of the district court decision: Part I, Part II, Part III

While Viacom claimed that YouTube was well aware of infringing materials being posted and that the Court should not allow rampant infringement, YouTube countered that there were no instances where the infringing works were not taken down following notice from the owner. During the arguments,
YouTube touted its ability to remove the infringing works within hours of the notice of infringement and have developed software to detect copyrighted works.

One of the problems expressed by the panel was how to calculate damages. One judge expressed that he believed that Viacom could be looking for some type of license arrangement. However, by taking the case this far, it would seem that Viacom is interested in more than a licensing arrangement. YouTube has arrangements with other companies. Viacom included several references and comparisons to Grokster.

Ultimately, the question about who should bear the burdens regarding copyright infringement will need to be answered. YouTube claims they need notice to determine whether something that is posted on YouTube is infringing the work of another.

It will likely be several months before a decision is reached.