According to a study by Computer & Communications Industry Association, “$4.7 trillion is the amount of revenue generated in US by “fair use economy” — industries that rely on fair use and other limitations on copyright. They account for 1/6th of U.S. GDP, one out of eight jobs, and $281 billion in exports. Copyright law not only provides artists with certain protections, but also includes important limitations that promote innovation & legitimate re-use of information. For e.g., without limits on copyright, search engines wouldn’t exist. Indexing Web would be illegal, because that requires creating a copy of websites first. The importance of well-designed copyright goes much further, though. iPods, Tivos, and any other digital media device capable of making copies depends on balanced copyright. The Internet’s very function is to make and disseminate copies of information — it couldn’t exist without limitations in copyright. Congress laid the foundations for the Web in 1998, when it enacted DMCA and created a set of “safe harbors” that protected online service providers who respond properly to copyright holders’ notifications of alleged infringement. Virtually all Web platforms — from smallest website hosting platforms & community bulletin boards to YouTube, Facebook, eBay, Craigslist, and everything in between — depend on this legal framework,” writes Derek Slater.
More info: Fair use study final (pdf)