Core Copyright Industries Added $1.3 Trillion To U.S. Economy In 2017, Employ 5.7M Americans

International Intellectual Property Alliance

America’s core copyright industries added a whopping $1.3 trillion to the nation’s economy last year and employed nearly 5.7 million American workers, accounting for 3.85% of the entire U.S. workforce and 4.54% of all private sector jobs, according to a new study.

Prepared by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the study also found that core copyright industries are growing at a faster rate than the rest of the economy – at an aggregate annual rate of 5.23% from 2014-17, compared with the 2.21% average annual growth rate of the entire U.S. economy over the same period. “The core copyright industries grew at a rate more than 137% greater than the remainder of the U.S. economy,” according to the report (read it here).


The average annual wage of workers in the core copyright industries is also considerably higher than the average U.S. annual wage – $98,336 compared to $70,498, amounting to a 39% “compensation premium” over the average U.S. annual wage.

The study defines core copyright industries as those principally involved in the creation and distribution of copyrighted content, such as movies, TV and radio broadcasting, music, books, videogames, computer software, newspapers, periodicals and journals.

But when ancillary industries are included that also contribute to the production and distribution of copyrighted material, the output of the “total” copyright industries is even more impressive. According to the study, the value added by the “total” copyright industries to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2017 exceeded $2.2 trillion, accounting for nearly 11.6% of the U.S. economy. The “total” copyright industries include not only the core copyright industries but also the partial copyright, non-dedicated support, and interdependent industries.

These industries include those that produce, manufacture, and sell equipment whose function is primarily to facilitate the creation, production, or use of works of copyrighted matter such as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of TV sets, personal computers, and other devices; companies that make products such as blank recording material and certain categories of paper; and industries in which only some aspect or portion of the products that they create qualify for copyright protection, including toys and games, fabric, jewelry and furniture.


According to the report, the “total” copyright industries employed over 11.6 million workers in 2017, accounting for 7.87% of all U.S. employment, or 9.28% of all private employment in the United States. And their average annual wage – $86,308 – was 22% higher than the average American worker’s.

Copyright industries also contribute significantly to foreign sales and exports, outperforming many major U.S. industry sectors. According to the study, the sale of select U.S. copyright products in overseas markets amounted to $191.2 billion in 2017, a significant increase over previous years.

“The foreign sales of selected copyright industry sectors exceed foreign sales of other major U.S. industries, including electronic equipment, appliances and components ($174.2 billion); agricultural products ($138.2 billion); chemicals (excluding pharmaceuticals & medicines) ($137 billion); aerospace products and parts ($134.4 billion), and pharmaceuticals and medicines ($55.8 billion).”

On hand for the release of the report today in Washington, D.C. were Senators Orrin Hatch and Christopher Coons, and writer/director Jessica Bendinger.


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