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Software Developers and Advertising Services are High Performing Copyright Industries

A new report on the economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries identifies software developers and advertising services as high performing copyright industries. 

The biennial PwC Report into The economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries has demonstrated the scale and importance of the copyright industries in Australia. Using a framework from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Report explores the economic contributions made by the four categories of copyright industries in Australia.


If you work in the space of graphic design, industrial design, product design manufacturing, user experience design, architectural design, publishing or the visual or performing arts, then it’s likely your business contributes to the core copyright industry in Australia. Alternatively, your services may be inter-dependent on or otherwise support the production of copyright works.

What were the key insights from the Report?

The Report reveals how competition from new businesses and distribution models in a digital environment continues to disrupt the core copyright industries. However, the data also suggests that inter-dependent industries are also establishing themselves as key drivers in the value of copyright in Australia.

Here is a snapshot from the Report:

The Report also found that if the copyright industries were considered a single, stand-alone industry, it would be the fifth largest industry in Australia, in terms of gross value added [1].


Image 3 - Pie chart of 5th largest industry in Australi
Data Source: PwC (2020) ‘The economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries’ pg. 16

This means that the copyright industries have generated more value than manufacturing, retail and trade, transport or education and training industries in Australia.

Who is contributing to growth? 

Industry growth in the past five years has been driven by the advertising services and software and databases sub-industries [2]. 

The software and databases sub-industry has more than doubled the average growth rate of other copyright industries across the board. The value of the advertising industry also grew by an average of 2.8% per annum between 2014 and 2018[3], outpacing the overall growth of other categories overall, as shown in the below extract from the Report:



Also, export activity for independent copyright industries account for just over 90% of total copyright exports in Australia[4]. This includes the production of essential equipment such as computers and electronics.

Achieving value on return: protecting and commercialising your copyright assets

Before copyright works can return value to a business, the works need to be identified and protected. Examples of how this can occur include:

  • ensuring that the IP subsisting in customised software, mobile applications, and website content/code is assigned to the business in written agreements;

  • controlling the use of a business’ copyright by employees, licensees, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, suppliers, contractors and consultants in written agreements;

  • managing the sale and transfer of works of copyright between businesses through written agreements; 

  • registration of business-critical inventions and product designs; and 

  • registration of branding, trading names and logos as trade marks.   

At Sladen Legal, we are at our happiest working with members of the creative industries to manage the licensing of copyright or the sale or transfer of artistic works. We can also develop a suite of resources that protect your business against claims of copyright infringement. For more information, please contact Michelle Dowdle, Head of Intellectual Property at Sladen Legal on (03) 9611 0114, 0408 674 256  or send her an email at [email protected], @SladenIP

Or visit the AGDA IP Hotline Portal for a free consultation, we would love to hear from you!


For the published article, click here.

[1] PwC (2020) ‘The economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries’ pg. 4
[2] PwC (2020) ‘The economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries’ pg. 13
[3] ibid.
[4] ibid.