Exceptions to U.S. copyright laws, or “fair use,” generate more than $4.5 trillion a year in the U.S. economy, according to a new study.

That amount generated by "fair use" represents one-sixth of U.S. gross domestic product, according to the report by the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

Findings of the report were reported at a briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

The economic contributions of industries that utilize “fair use” have increased 31 percent since 2002, the CCIA said.

“As the United States economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, the concept of fair use can no longer be discussed and legislated in the abstract. It is the very foundation of the digital age and a cornerstone of our economy,” said Ed Black, president and chief executive officer of CCIA.

“Much of the unprecedented economic growth of the past ten years can actually be credited to the doctrine of fair use, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner,” he added. “To stay on the edge of innovation and productivity, we must keep fair use as one of the cornerstones for creativity, innovation and, as today’s study indicates, an engine for growth for our country."

To see the report, click the .