• 07.21.09

Does Fighting Piracy Fuel Innovation?

A new study suggests that the key to outsize growth and innovation is a strong protection of copyrights and other intellectual property. Is its argument convincing?

Just how important is a vigorous defense against intellectual property piracy to fostering innovation and growth? This eternal debate has received some fresh kindling with an influential new report prepared for the International Intellectual Property Alliance that suggests that fighting copyright infringement is central to maintaining the health of business. But according to ArsTechnica, that assessment is based on some dubious math.


The report says it draws its data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, but questions have been raised about its assessments. Says Ars: “… there’s something odd about the numbers. If the copyright industries are growing faster than GDP growth as a whole, you’d expect them to be occupying an ever-bigger slice of the total GDP. They don’t.” Ars writer John Timmer goes on to question the report’s conclusion as well: that because IP-reliant sectors are doing so well, they need even more “draconian” levels of protection. Check out the full argument below.

[Via ArsTechnica]

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.