Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012
Copyright collecting societies have attracted economists' attention for over 30 years and the attention of government regulators for even longer. They have typically been accepted by economists and by courts of law as necessary for reducing transaction costs and enabling copyright to work. The advent of digitization has led to renewed interest in the topic and to the view that though new technologies offer the possibility of improved rights management, collecting societies are not responding sufficiently to these opportunities. That view was evident in recent enquiries into the role of copyright in the digital age in the UK, which proposed the formation of a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) that would promote online digital trade. This paper evaluates the case for the DCE in the light of what economists know about collective rights management.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 47-92, 2012
This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system - and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 3-46, 2012
The Canadian Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) includes several exceptions to the exclusive right of copyright holders. Among the most important are the provisions concerning "fair dealing", which state that the use of a copyright protected literary or artistic work for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, or news reporting does not constitute a violation of copyright. Our objective in this paper is to characterize the role and nature of this exception from the standpoint of contemporary economic theory and analysis and in the light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on this subject (CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada,  1 S.C.R. 339, 2004 SCC 13). We propose in the conclusion a market based approach to maximize the dissemination of works while avoiding unnecessary recourse to the fair dealing exception.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 93-121, 2012
Maryam Dilmaghani and Jim Engle-Warnick
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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 55-64, 2011
Copyright is supposed to establish a mechanism under which content users contribute to creators' income, thereby providing incentives for creators to create new and original content for end-users to consume. However, in the current digital environment one can suggest that this arrangement is breaking down. The necessary flow of content is not being achieved in such a manner as to provide a satisfactory flow of revenue back to the creators, or is it vice versa? It can also be argued that the copyright system is not providing enough revenue for distributors to provide the sort of services that users would like with the current pricing structures, use restrictions and rights complexity demanded by the major controllers of music copyrights. In this essay I consider the current state of affairs regarding the copyright system, and its effects for all participants along the value chain for protected content.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 101-120, 2011
There are many gaps between what economists know and what they don't know. This article reviews this situation in the light of what policy-makers say they want to know about the economic effects of copyright. The article sets out what I see as misunderstandings on the part of policy-makers as to what economics can offer in the way of evidence on copyright. The paper is based on my limited experience of advising and consulting as well as on reading calls for evidence in policy documents.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 65-100, 2011
This paper tries to convey the problems we government economists face in weighing up the evidence around copyright policy, and how the academic and grey literature plays a role in this. This is with particular reference to the recent review of the IP framework in the UK - the Hargreaves Review - and the reforms which are now being planned. The paper outlines the proposed changes and tries to raise the research questions which will need to be answered for Government to take these reforms forward. My primary aim in this paper is to emphasise that we are looking for help in gathering this evidence, and secondly to show that the institutions of Government can make it very hard for us civil servants to find all the relevant answers, as we often don't know who to ask, or have the time to ask. I try to illustrate this by going through one aspect of the evidence we believe we have, and look in some detail at a very influential piece of 'lobbynomics' on the cost of infringement. The purpose of this is to share the view from the other side of the policy debate, and to invite the reader inside the bubble that can be government policy making, all the while trying to get out of said bubble.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 3-34, 2011
This paper analyzes and compares two types of cooperative agreements that combine Intellectual Property (IP): patent pools and copyright collectives. I evaluate antitrust policy in three environments in which owners of the intellectual property (IP): (1) are vertically integrated into the downstream (product) market; (2) face competition in the upstream (input) market and (3) own downstream products that do not require a license on the pooled IP but compete with products that do. Although patent pools and copyright collectives differ in purpose, membership size and market conditions, their efficiency implications are qualitatively similar in each of the three situations. Therefore, a uniform rather than IP-specific competition policy is appropriate for pools and collectives, thus lending economic support for the approach followed by antitrust authorities toward IP-related cooperative agreements.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 35-54, 2011
Michael Y. Yuan and Koji Domon
As an alternative to the current copyright system (FLC), indefinitely renewable copyright (IRC) has not been compared to the current system in international settings. We compare them in a two country setting. We find that optimally configured IRC does not necessarily lead to higher national or global welfare than an optimally configured FLC.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, 51-97, 2011
Essential inputs are an important topic of debate for economics. One common essential input is intellectual property, in the form of either patents or copyrights, which the producers of goods and services for final consumption must necessarily purchase from the input supplier. The ensuing monopoly power of the input supplier leads in many cases to controversial outcomes, in which social inefficiencies can occur. In much of the literature on the economics of intellectual property, it is assumed that the right holder is remunerated either by a fixed payment or by a payment that amounts to an additional marginal cost to the user, or both. However, in some significant instances in the real-world, right holders are constrained to use (or may choose to use) a compensation scheme that involves revenue sharing. That is, the right holder takes as remuneration a part of the user's revenue. In essence, the remuneration is set as a tax on the user's revenue. This paper analysis such remuneration mechanisms, establishing and analysing the optimal tax rate, and also the Nash equilibrium tax rate that would emerge from a fair and unconstrained bargaining problem. The second option provides a rate that may be useful for regulatory authorities. The model is calibrated against a (hypothetical) scenario in which the copyright holders in music are paid a regulated share of the revenue of music radio stations, a topic that is presently at the fore-front of the economics of copyright pricing.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, 7-50, 2011
Frank Mueller-Langer and Marc Scheufen
Beginning in December 2004 Google has pursued a new project to create a book search engine (Google Book Search). The project has released a storm of controversy around the globe. While the supporters of Google Book Search conceive the project as a first reasonable step towards unlimited access to knowledge in the information age, its opponents fear profound negative effects due to an erosion of copyright law.
Our law and economics analysis of the Book Search Project suggests that - from a copyright perspective - the proposed settlement may be beneficial to right holders, consumers, and Google. For instance, it may provide a solution to the still unsolved dilemma of orphan works. From a competition policy perspective, we stress the important aspect that Google's pricing algorithm for orphan and unclaimed works effectively replicates a competitive Nash-Bertrand market outcome under post-settlement, third-party oversight.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 39-55, 2010
Michael Y. Yuan
Many countries have yet to decide whether extend copyright duration. Technological changes were cited by a U.S. Senate report to support duration extension. This study adds to the assessment of the validity of the technological argument by simulating the effect on optimal copyright duration of increased price discrimination caused by digital technology. Simulation of a model of information product market indicates that increase of price discrimination on high-end market calls for shorter copyright duration; that on low-end market may support extension, if the discrimination benefits consumers, and otherwise work against it. It further suggests price discrimination on low-end market increases welfare and supply of original information products but that on the high-end market may either increase or decrease them.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 21-37, 2010
The issue of what price should be set for the music input to radio broadcasts has been hotly debated recently in several countries, including USA, Canada and New Zealand. Since music is subject to copyright, this is an issue that is of great importance to the economics of copyright. The central point is the fact that, because of the economic efficiency that is gained by collective management and blanket licencing, the copyright holders in music are represented by a single bargaining unit. The ensuing monopoly power is often seen to be detrimental to social efficiency, and so in exchange for allowing the collective to form and operate, the price at which it grants access to its repertory is regulated. The regulated price should be set at a fair and equitable level. In this paper, the Shapley methodology is used to attempt to provide such a tariff.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 3-20, 2010
The first decade of the new millennium has been the decade of digital distribution for media products. All products that can be digitized have either been affected, or will soon be. Since the early days of the Internet, piracy has emerged as an important threat to media firms. But new technology also brings an opportunity for firms to engage in new models of pricing. Many of these new forms of pricing produce revenue that is not readily attributed to particular owners, making it necessary for sellers to create new methods for sharing revenue, or pie-splitting. Affected industries have mobilized to enact a number of non-market responses, including recent efforts to induce Internet Service Providers to control the flow of unpaid content through their pipes. This essay reviews the threats, opportunities, and challenges to media firms that have emerged over the past decade, with attention to piracy, pricing, pie-splitting, and pipe control.Click to read more.