Sunday 10 June 2012

Good evidence -- but is it probative of the future?

A UK Intellectual Property Office press release announces the exciting news that "Copyright Industry adds an extra £3billion to national accounts". It states:
"The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Imperial College [last Friday ]published new estimates of investment in the UK's copyright industries. When adopted in the National Accounts this adds more than £3 billion to the economy. ...

The new estimates have been developed over the last year as part of the IPO's economic research programme to establish a more accurate picture of intellectual property in the UK. The study drew on new information provided by the publishing, music and film industries on their investment in copyrighted work, which generates long term revenues for the UK [The "long-term income" bit may be somewhat historic, given consumer preferences for file-sharing and other forms of non-revenue-generating ways of enjoying the works concerned. The data here relates to 2009, which isn't such a long time ago -- but look how fast technology has developed since then]

This new initiative has been a collaborative effort between the Office for National Statistics (ONS), IPO, Imperial College and the creative industries. It reflects the increased importance of intellectual property in today's economy.

The IPO's Chief Executive, John Alty said:
"Government policy recognises the vital importance of innovation in the creative sector [Well, that's nice -- but if you read the report that this pres release proudly announces, you won't find the words "innovate" or "innovation" anywhere in it]. It is more important than ever that we should capture this investment in the way we measure the economy - adding to the UK's economic capability. "We welcome the drive for good evidence and the collaboration between industry, researchers and Government which has made this work possible."
Sarah Faulder, Chief Executive of the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) said:
"PLS is delighted to have been able to play a part in ensuring that the value of the UK's publishing industry is more accurately reflected in the national statistics. Whilst we believe there is more work to be done to ensure the scale of the industry is fully reflected, we commend the IPO for having undertaken this crucial and challenging task at a time when copyright policy is under review by the Government" [Reading between the lines, does this mean: "now that you've shown how much the industry is worth, are you going to measure these real gains against any hypotheticals that the Hargreaves proposals might deliver?"]
...  ".
The new estimates, summarised later in the same press release, are set out in 'Updating the Value of UK Copyright Investment' published by the IPO and Imperial College; you can read it in full here.  Note for environmentalists: this document is 12 sides in length, though only the first eight have anything worth reading on them. Pages 9 and 10 are a monumental waste of colour cartridge.

1 comment:

Crosbie Fitch said...

Like a lottery, a monopoly does not actually add anything to a nation's balance sheet. It is simply redistribution. There may well be windfall profits to certain persons or corporations but these do not represent productivity - gains to a few at the expense of many.

If anything, copyright causes a net outflow of funds from the UK to the US (Hollywood, etc.).