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Fair use of copyrighted material benefits US economy: report

[JURIST] The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) [advocacy website] released a report [PDF text; press release] Wednesday saying that fair use exceptions [US Copyright Office backgrounder] to US copyright laws create more than $4.5 trillion in revenue in the US annually, employ millions of workers, and represented one-sixth of the total US GDP in 2006. The report, released at a briefing on Capitol Hill, indicates that media firms, educational establishments and software developers that benefit from the fair use of content contribute more than three times the amount that copyright-controlled industries do to the US economy.

The Fair Use exception [text] to US copyright law [text] says that limited unauthorized use of copyrighted material for scientific, educational, journalistic, or research purposes is not a violation of the copyright; the exception permits a broad range of technology businesses to benefit. Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA, said:

Fair use protects competition by guaranteeing that companies can reverse engineer software so that their products will work and 'inter-operate' with the products of their competitors. Fair use guarantees journalists, scholars and ordinary citizens the right to quote and abstract from others' writings, and so buttresses basic rights of free expression. And fair use guarantees that technological innovations such as the Internet itself, whose very function is to copy information from one place to another, can operate normally without running afoul of copyright law. Fair use thus helps to ensure that the benefits of copyright accrue to the public. It produces a multiplier effect without which we would all be poorer.
Vnunet.com has more.

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