Study shows copyright enforcement can impede innovation

On Tuesday March 24, the Lisbon Council  launched a new Study,  “2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index: Measuring the Impact of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity” by Benjamin Gibert. The Index – the result of a of a year-long research project – examines the relationship between economic growth and intellectual property regimes in some of the world’s most innovative economies.

The report builds a system for measuring the impact of exceptions to copyright on economic growth and finds that countries that employ a broadly “flexible” regime of exceptions in copyright also saw higher rates of growth in value-added output throughout their economies.

Out of many countries it appears that copyright protection in Europe is almost nowhere as strict as in the Netherlands. According to the Study, in this digital age this puts a brake on the growth of the Dutch economy.

Economic growth, according to the study benefits from ample opportunities to software, music, movies and news sharing over the internet. “In the digital age, access to basic content, as well as opportunities to link that to mix, copy, and especially to share, writes Benjamin Gibert, the author of the report.

The conclusion is especially relevant for the Netherlands, that of the eight countries surveyed, the least flexible legislation on copyright. On a scale of 1 to 10 scores a 5.9 Netherlands. France and Japan stand with a 6.3 on a shared sixth place, and are thus slightly more liberal than the Netherlands. The sharing of creative products via the Internet is the easiest in the United States, which leads to a 8.1. European countries score lower than the US because the number of exceptions for libraries or for educational purposes, is limited. Netherlands accepts exemptions from copyright slower when it comes to parodies, reviews and scientific purposes. In Europe, the copyright legislation around has hardly harmonized, in contrast to the patent legislation.

A flexible interpretation of legislation on copyright, the study clearly contributes to the growth in the publishing industry, the world of television and in the ICT sector (Information and Communication). At the same time show greater freedom to software, music and written articles to share, contribute to employment and growth in the economy as a whole.

The conclusion of The Lisbon Council goes against the idea that it is necessary precisely stricter legislation to boost economic growth. The creative industries, including many media companies and software makers have long lobbied for a strict interpretation of copyright because only in this way could recoup their investments

The study signals a change in trend, especially in the music industry. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), lobbied in the past always tough legislation, but now realize that the value of creative products is increasingly determined by the attention she managed to generate. Through social media arise communities generate income in a different way. The paid acquisition of the product is correctly less important.

(from Het Financieele Dagblad, Netherland’s main financial newspaper of Wednesday March 25, 2015)

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