It’s easy to appreciate why the MPAA and other groups that support tougher anti-piracy laws are so eager to circulate the report out today from the International Intellectual Property Alliance. It buttresses their case by showing that the national economy increasingly depends on industries that make and distribute content including computer software, movies, TV shows, video games, books, magazines, and newspapers. Their contribution to GDP crossed the $1T mark for the first time in 2012 (at $1.02T, a 5.2% increase vs 2011), accounting for nearly 6.5% of the national total, up from 6.4%. Last year’s growth is a little less impressive if you adjust for inflation: The copyright total was up 3.9%, slower than the previous year (when it was +6.1%) and 2010 (+4.2%). Even so, copyright-protected businesses added more value to GDP last year than construction (at $558.7B) and the federal government ($668.3B) — and came close to health care and social assistance ($1.16T), finance and insurance ($1.24T), and state and local government ($1.36T). Employment in copyright businesses also edged up. They accounted for 5.4M jobs in 2012, +1.9%. That comes to 4.04% of total U.S. employment, and 4.83% of private employment. At the same time, average compensation per employee rose 3.25% to $85,643 — that’s 33% more than the U.S. average, and 39% higher than the private industry average. The study stuck to a long-used formula for calculating the industry’s contribution to GDP instead of adjusting to a change that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis made in July for “artistic originals.” The tally for copyright industries likely would have been higher had it used the new standards, the IIPA says.
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