Missing data points in the IIPA copyright study

A couple of data points I would have liked to have seen but could not find in the study released Monday by the International Intellectual Property Alliance on the copyright industries’ $1.5 trillion contribution to U.S. GDP:

1)  What portion of the economic activity in what the report classify as “non-core” copyright industries is being counted toward that $1.5 trillion? Following classifications established by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2004, the report divides Copyright-symbolthe copyright industries into four categories: Core industries (movies, TV, books, newspapers, recorded music, computer software); Partial copyright industries (industries in which a portion of their output is eligible for copyright protection, e.g. fabric, jewelry, furniture); Non-Dedicated Support industries (transportation, telecommunications, etc.); and Interdependent industries (CE manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, blank media etc.). Together, the four make up the report’s “total copyright industries.”

According to the report the core industries contributed $889 billion to U.S. GDP in 2007, the last year for which data are available, while the non-core industries contributed $636 billion. Not all economic activity in those related industries is related to copyrighted works, however, as the authors of the report acknowledge. So how much are they assigning to the copyright category? “A portion,” according the report. How big a portion? The report doesn’t say. Read More »

Copyright behind closed doors

ustr-logoPublic Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced earlier this week that they are “reluctantly” dropping their lawsuit against the U.S. Trade Representative, which sought information on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being secretly negotiated by the U.S. and a dozen other countries. The public-interest groups made the decision to withdraw the litigation after the Obama Administration informed the court that it intends to defend the Bush Administration’s claims of national security in refusing to turn over documents on the treaty.

“Federal judges have very little discretion to overrule Executive Branch decisions to classify information on ‘national security’ grounds,” EFF said in a press release. “Rather than pursuing a lawsuit with little chance of forcing the disclosure of key ACTA documents, EFF and Public Knowledge will devote their efforts to advocating for consumer representation on the U.S. Industry Trade Advisory Committee on IP, the creation of a civil society trade advisory committee, and greater government transparency about what ACTA means for citizens.”

Good luck with that.

Apart from giving the lie to Barack Obama’s increasingly doubtful promise to run an open and transparent administration, the continued secrecy around ACTA is of a piece with what seems to be a growing trend among rich countries to turn the debate on global IP issues into a private conversation among themselves, even to the point of undermining the global institution rich countries originally created to deal with global IP issues: the World Intellectual Property Organization. Read More »