New government report on IP doesn’t say what Big Content thinks it says

21 05 2012

Yesterday we got an e-mail from the Motion Picture Association of America trumpeting a new Commerce Department report on the importance of “intellectual property”—patents, copyrights, and trademarks—to the United States economy. “IP-intensive industries, including movies and television, supported the jobs of 40 million American workers, or 27.7 percent of all US jobs,” the MPAA wrote.

The report bills itself as an objective empirical project, measuring the impact of copyright, patent, and trademark protection on the US economy. But it isn’t shy about touting the importance of these legal regimes to the US economy. “The granting and protection of intellectual property rights is vital to promoting innovation and creativity and is an essential element of our free-enterprise, market-based system,” the report claims.

But is that really what the report shows? We decided to dig deeper.


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