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Sky Is Rising as Copyright Office Considers Section 512

· April 8, 2019

Today the U.S. Copyright Office is hosting another roundtable on Section 512 of the Copyright Act as part of their ongoing study of these intermediary protections, which began at the end of 2015.  Three of the four panels are dedicated to domestic developments since the last roundtable in February 2017, and the fourth is focused on international developments.

While some of the advocacy for changing copyright safe harbors — especially in the EU, which recently passed its controversial Copyright Directive — is tied to perceived loss of rightsholder revenue due to the Internet, the data actually shows that creativity is thriving online.  As DisCo has explained, we’re seeing ‘value growth’, not a ‘value gap.’ [1] [2] [3]

A new report from the Copia Institute and CCIA finds that creative industries are thriving more than ever, with stats on the increase in content being produced and consumed — and the increase in consumer spending.  The 2019 edition of Sky Is Rising, consistent with previous editions, focuses on music, video, video games, and books.  Some of the highlights are available below:

Music: The last five years have seen massive growth in streaming music revenue — increasing from 30% to 47% of all recorded music revenue in just the last three years, with $4.8 billion in the U.S. alone in 2018.  Live music brought in just around $30 billion last year, and it remains the largest revenue source for music.

Video: Video production has also changed and grown.  For example, in the last decade the number of “original scripted TV shows” available in the U.S. more than doubled, from 210 in 2009 to 496 in 2018.  In 2009, 3,926 films were released globally, while in 2017 that number was 6,106. Global box office revenue has increased from $29.4 billion in 2009 to $40.6 billion in 2017.  And that’s despite growing competition from the Internet, TV, and elsewhere.  This is consistent with a new NERA study on how the growth of online video distributors has driven an increase in content, revenues, employment, and consumer choice for users around the world.

Books: The book publishing business is also growing, with greater publisher revenue, and many more books (print, e-book, and audio) being released.  Ease of access also means an explosion in self-publishing, with over a million self-published books being published in 2017, up from 111,359 self-published books in 2009.

Video Games: The video game industry has seen significant growth, particularly in mobile.  The global games market reached $137.9 billion in 2018, nearly double its size in 2012, and larger than the global movie and recording industries combined.  The audience for video games is also growing, with estimates that there were around 2.34 billion active gamers worldwide in 2018. In the U.S. two thirds of the population now plays video games.  Revenues from live streaming e-sports has grown from $4.4 billion in 2016 to $5.2 billion in 2018, with some e-sports tournaments’ audience numbers rivaling major sporting events.

Intellectual Property

The Internet enables the free exchange of ideas and content that, in turn, promote creativity, commerce, and innovation. However, a balanced approach to copyright, trademarks, and patents is critical to this creative and entrepreneurial spirit the Internet has fostered. Consequently, it is our belief that the intellectual property system should encourage innovation, while not impeding new business models and open-source developments.