The Big © and the Relationship between Creativity and Economic Prosperity

Writers work in isolation much of the time, and sometimes we wonder whether what we’re doing makes a difference out there in the big, wide world. Reader feedback affirms that what we do is important on an emotional level. Conferences provide us with the sense of community and support necessary to keep going. Now, a growing chorus of experts such as psychologists and teachers are increasingly saying that the skills people will need to succeed in the future are those that writers and authors possess in abundance – creativity, communication and relationship-building. And economic science is proving them right.

The Australian Copyright Council is an independent, non-profit organisation that aims to support a creative Australia by promoting the benefit of copyright for the common good. This month it released its fourth annual report on the contribution copyright industries make to the Australian economy. Based on 2014 data, the Council reported that copyright industries:

  • Contribute $111.4 billion to the economy (7.1% of GDP);
  • Generated $4.8 billion in exports (1.8% of total exports);
  • Employed just over one million people (or 8.7% of the workforce);
  • Generated more value-add than manufacturing and health care, making it the fourth biggest industry group, up from seventh in 2012.

A comparison of Australia’s results with those from other countries who make up the 188 member states of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) indicates that our economy is more dependent on copyright industries. There is no doubt that we Aussies are an innovative bunch!

Not surprisingly, the greatest growth area in copyright is software and database related, but … it takes one hundred cents to make up every dollar. So next time you doubt that what you do makes a ripple in the pond of life, remember that you are contributing to your community at both a micro and a macro level.

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