Google Search: $1 trillion Copyright

WSJ ran an editorial highlighting the copyright issues with Google Search, the bread and butter of the American tech icon of the early 21st century. The report questions if Google's practice of downloading and reproducing books, articles, photographs and other creative materials without approval of the copyright owners is legal. 

Other Highlights:

  • Each year the U.S. produces roughly $1 trillion of intellectual property -- 40% of the world total and the primary U.S. export in the global marketplace, according to The Institute for Policy Innovation estimates.  
  • If the U.S. government won't fully protect these intellectual-property rights at home, it undermines the case for protecting them abroad. 
  • However a recent Cato Institute paper argues that "transformative" technologies like search engines should be exempt from many of these copyright lawsuits because they create entirely new products out of the old. 

What is really at stake in the problem of counterfeiting and piracy? An analysis "Economic Impact of Intellectual Property Industries on the U.S. Economy" released Nov. 2005 by NBC Universal reveals that US intellectual property industries are:  

  • The most important growth drivers in the current US economy, contributing nearly 40% of the growth achieved by all US private industry and nearly 60% of the growth of US exportable products and services;  
  • Crucial to the future growth of the US economy; gross domestic product (GDP) 10-year growth estimates would be approximately 30% lower than current predictions without the contributions of these industries;  
  •  Essential contributors to the US GDP, responsible for 20% of the total US private industry's contribution to the GDP and 40% of the contribution of US exportable products and services to GDP;  
  • Among the largest and highest paying employers in the country, representing 18 million workers who earn on average 40% more than all US workers;  
  • Increasingly contributing to the US economy - in 2003 the "core" copyright industries contributed $33 billion in reported net export revenues, and the patent-dependent aerospace industry reported 2004 net export revenues of $32 billion; these two sectors are the largest positive contributors to the US balance of trade.  

Source: Stephen E. Siwek of Economists Incorporated, study commissioned by NBC Universal Study

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