The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Exclusion, Competition and Change: The Shifting Boundaries of the Television Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 55-74, 2008

Giovanni Battista Ramello and Francesco Silva


Abstract

The aim of this work is to analyse the evolution of pay-TV as an example of the dynamics that characterise the media sector and in which copyright has played a pivotal role. In one simplified representation, we can identify two crucial levels on which the market is shaped: that of content, governed by copyright, and that of distribution. Control over each of these levels offers, in different ways, leverage for orienting the market, and has thus been an object of the strategies of firms. On the whole we can say that the innovation path characterising media markets extends beyond the purely technological sphere to also embrace the market as an "organisational technology" for production and exchange. Hence, the competitive process, so important for defining the market configurations, must be discussed from an intertemporal perspective in which technological choices, the regulatory framework and control of copyrights can be viewed as both exogenous and strategic variables manipulated by firms to obtain profits.

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Restricting Access to Books on the Internet: Some Unanticipated Effects of US Copyright Legislation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 23-53, 2008

Paul A. David and Jared Rubin


Abstract

One manifestation of the trend towards the strengthening of copyright protection that has been noticeable during the past two decades is the secular extension of the potential duration during which access to copyrightable materials remains legally restricted. Those restrictions carry clear implications for the current and prospective costs to readers seeking "on-line" availability of the affected content in digital form, via the Internet. This paper undertakes to quantify one aspect of these developments by providing readily understandable measures of the restrictive consequences of the successive modifications that were made in U.S. copyright laws during the second half of the twentieth century. Specifically, we present estimates of the past, present and future number of copyrighted books belonging to different publication-date "cohorts" whose entry into the public domain (and consequent accessibility in scanned on-line form) will thereby have been postponed. In some instances these deferrals of access due to legislative extensions of the duration of copyright protection are found to reach surprisingly far into the future, and to arise from the effects of interactions among the successive changes in the law that generally have gone unnoticed.

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The Economics of Copyright Law: A Stocktake of the Literature

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1-22, 2008

Ruth Towse, Christian Handke and Paul Stepan


Abstract

This article is a survey of publications by economists writing on copyright law. It begins with a general overview of how economists analyse these questions; the distinction is made between the economics of copying and the economic aspects of copyright law as analysed in law and economics. It then continues with sections on research on the effects of copying and downloading and the effects of unauthorised use ('piracy') and ends with an overall evaluation of the economics of copyright in the light of recent technological changes. Economists have always been, and still are, somewhat sceptical about copyright and question what alternatives there are to it. On balance, most accept the role of copyright law in the creative industries while urging caution about its becoming too strong. And although European authors' rights are different in legal terms from the Anglo-American copyright, the economic analysis of these laws is essentially the same.

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Copyright from an Institutional Perspective: Actors, Interests, Stakes and the Logic of Participation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 65-97, 2007

Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt


Abstract

This article investigates recent developments in copyright, proceeding from a participation-centred comparative institutional approach (Komesar, 1994). Following institutional theory, the approach implies conceiving of the market, the political process (legislatures and administrative agencies) and the courts as alternative decision-making processes in the area of copyright law and policy. It emphasises the importance of institutional choice, based on careful comparison of the modalities for participation of different interests in these processes.
Novel digital and information technologies influence the conditions for participation in copyright decision-making at all levels and unsettle previously established institutional equilibriums. In the wake of the Infosoc Directive, a dynamic process of institutional adjustment seems to be unfolding in the Member States of the European Union whereby a variety of private, public and mixed institutional schemes for interpretation and enforcement of the new digital copyright are emerging, seeking to reconcile the interests of a variety of old and new stakeholders. This dynamism is interpreted as a search for appropriate decision-making institution to mitigate the consequences of an expansive legislative copyright policy as materialized in the Infosoc Directive and to re-establish a balance of rights and obligations. It is argued that the institutional design of these schemes and the modalities for actor participation will be crucial for their sustainable success and seem therefore to deserve more careful scrutiny. At the same time, the conservative force of institutional legacies is emphasized as a factor deterring institutional innovation.

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Optimal Copyright Over Time: Technological Change and the Stock of Works

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 51-64, 2007

Rufus Pollock


Abstract

The optimal level for copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. Using a parsimonious theoretical model this paper contributes several new results of relevance to this debate. In particular we demonstrate that (a) optimal copyright is likely to fall as the production costs of 'originals' decline (for example as a result of digitization) (b) technological change which reduces costs of production may imply an increase or a decrease in optimal levels of protection (this contrasts with a large number of commentators, particularly in the copyright industries, who have argued that such change necessitates increases in protection) (c) the optimal level of copyright will, in general, fall over time as the stock of work increases.

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Technological Transformation, Intellectual Property Rights and Second Best Theory

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 5-28, 2007

Richard G. Lipsey


Abstract

Over the last decade, the research interests of myself and my co-authors have concerned economic growth, technological change and general purpose technologies - pervasive technologies that transform our whole society. Our many publications culminated in Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long Term Economic Growth by Richard Lipsey, Kenneth Carlaw and Cliff Bekar (hereafter LCB). This work has only incidentally raised issues concerning intellectual property rights (IRPs). So what I will cover in this paper is first a brief survey of some of the historical parts of LCB. Then, I give some general discussion of economic policy with emphasis on second best issues and, finally, some of the IPR issues that arose incidentally in our work.

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The 'Competitive' Value of Music to Commercial Radio Stations

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 29-50, 2007

Paul Audley and Marcel Boyer


Abstract

Our objective in this paper is to develop a methodology to infer from the behaviour and choices of broadcasters the "competitive" value they attach to the use of music, more precisely sound recordings, and to derive from such an inferred value the proper "competitive" copyright payments to be made to authors, composers, performers, and makers of sound recordings. We illustrate the methodology by applying it to Canadian data. The background is provided by the statement of case and supporting proof presented in the 2004 proceedings before the Copyright Board of Canada on the commercial radio tariff. The results called for a significant increase in copyright payments by Canada's commercial radio industry: the proper competitive copyright payments should be substantially more than double what the industry was paying at the time of the hearings.

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Guest Editor's Introduction

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1-3, 2007

Christian W. Handke


Abstract

The Society of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (SERCI) Annual Congress 2007 was hosted by the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. The congress was fully subscribed with well over 90 registered participants from 18 different countries. It attracted 48 academic researchers who presented 27 papers, four of which make up this special issue of the Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues. The SERCI Annual Congress 2007 also featured a special session on the economics of copyright collecting societies. This session proved particularly interesting to policy-makers and practitioners and triggered a diverse debate.

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Unauthorized Copying and Copyright Enforcement in Developing Countries: A Vietnam Case Study

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 87-96, 2007

Koji Domon and Kiyoshi Nakamura


Abstract

At present, Vietnam is regarded as the most notorious country regarding copyright infringement. China, joining WTO in 2001, has since implemented strict copyright measures. Even though Vietnam has laws covering intellectual property rights, enforcement is almost non-existent. We investigated how unauthorized P2P file-sharing affects copyright infringement in Vietnam. We assumed, before visiting Vietnam, that P2P file-sharing was more popular than pirated CDs and DVDs. However, few people there knew of its existence. Even when they did, they were unwilling to use it. Another astonishing fact was how pirated CDs play a role in promoting singers who relied on stage performances. Singers were not eager to support copyright enforcement. In this paper we consider these situations and explain how such behavior is commonplace in Vietnam.

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Causes, Effects and Solutions of Piracy in the Computer Software Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 63-86, 2007

Amy Marshall


Abstract

Much literature has been devoted to exploring the protection of computer programs. The decreasing effectiveness of copyright and patents has been extensively examined and alternative forms of protection, both physical and market-based, have been laid out. A large proportion of writings is dedicated to describing the significant network externalities that exist in the software market, and the effect that these have on the optimal level of protection. A large number of surveys have been undertaken to analyse the characteristics of software pirates and their incentives to pirate. This paper attempts to provide an overview of this literature.

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Private-Collective Software Business Models: Coordination and Commercialization Via Licensing

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 47-61, 2007

Heli A. Koski


Abstract

Private-collective business models that involve both private investment incentives and the production of public goods are not well understood. This empirically oriented research uses a unique data from the software industries of five European countries (Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain) to illuminate the patterns of private, entrepreneurial provision of software placed in the public domain. The estimation results strongly suggest that the highly restrictive GPL works as an efficient coordination mechanism for the (leading) developers of the OSS community and spreads particularly via the firms that have participated in the OSS development projects. The software companies supplying the OSS, instead, tend not to aim at using the GPL to coordinate the further development of their own OSS. Rather the firms are the origin of more flexibly licensed OSS products though generally the software firms' OSS business strategies relate to the restrictive licensing strategy choices.

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Patent and/or Copyright for Software: What Has Been Done So Far?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 3-14, 2007

Richard Watt


Abstract

The particular case of software seems to have stretched the patent-copyright divide to the point of breakage. Inspite of being traditionally excluded from patent, software is an obvious case of a single creation that embodies both expression and innovation, and so strong arguments exist for software to be both copyrightable and patentable material. The legal profession has looked carefully at the patentability of software over the past 15 years or so, both from a fully legal perspective, and using economic-type arguments. But we are still waiting for the economics profession per sé to set to work on this issue. Here, I shall go through some of the most well known arguments surrounding the protection of software, and then put forward a personal opinion as to what theoretical economists are likely to add, if and when they include this important question on their research agendas.

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Copyright Versus Patents: The Open Source Software Legal Battle

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 21-46, 2007

Francois Leveque and Yann Ménière


Abstract

Open Source Software is often viewed as an anti-intellectual property regime. In contrast, we argue how intellectual property law is at the heart of open source model since licenses that organize the innovation and business relationships between developers, distributors and end-users are based on copyright law. The proliferation of software patents can, however be seen as a threat for the development and deployment of open source software. We present the nature of the threat and review a series of initiatives undertaken by the open source community to address them effectively. These initiatives, such as the redesign of licenses and the creation of patent commons, are a testiment to a genuinely creative use of intellectual property law by the open source community, not its undermining.

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Intellectual Property in Software Development: Trends, Strategies and Problems

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 15-25, 2007

Knut Blind


Abstract

This paper analyses the impacts of the recent discussion to extend patentability to computer-implemented inventions, i.e. to allow software patents, in Europe. Based on two surveys among the German software sector referring to the use and importance of IPR in the year 2000 and 2004, the analysis finds that the share of companies using patents in the software sector remains constant, but the relevance of this instrument increased significantly for the active users of patents. Based on a set of hypotheses on the determinants for the use of patents, we also find changes. The size bias of patent use increased, whereas there is a dichotomy between using patents and following the open source model in the software sector and not a convergence, as has been suggested by the anecdotal evidence of some large multinationals. These changes in the software sector generate several new challenges for policy makers responsible for the IPR regime relevant for software in addition to the still unsolved question of extending patentability to software in Europe.

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Enforcement Sharing and Commercial Piracy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 83-97, 2006

Dyuti S. Banerjee


Abstract

This paper uses a strategic entry-deterrence framework to analyze the effects of enforcement sharing between the government and the monopolist in dealing with commercial copyright piracy. The monopolist is the incumbent firm and is responsible for monitoring the illegal operations of a commercial pirate, the possible entrant, who illegally reproduces and sells unauthorized copies of the monopolist's product. The monopolist bears the monitoring cost and the government is responsible for setting a penalty. We show that even when enforcement is shared the socially optimal penalty may result in no piracy in equilibrium only if the government is sensitive to piracy.

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