The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Transactions Costs and Administered Markets: License Contracts for Music Performance Rights

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 61-74, 2006

Michael A. Einhorn


Abstract

Performance rights organizations (PROs) provide transactional efficiency for music users and copyright owners by negotiating contracts, collecting revenue, and paying royalties for the rights to publicly perform musical compositions, thereby replacing their need to deal individually with one another in bilateral licensing. Historically, performance rights for catalogued works have been made available to users through blanket licenses, which convey the rights to perform, or have performed on licensed premises, all registered works in the corresponding catalog of registered works. While blanket licenses may enhance transactional efficiency, the same licenses are sometimes recognized as anticompetitive restrictions that compel each user to make an all or nothing choice that may force acceptance of a full license contract in place of a less inclusive alternative that may actually be preferred. Competitive concerns at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department regarding blanket licensing at ASCAP and BMI led to a separate series of Consent Decrees for each of the two major PROs in the U.S.
To explore the disparate claims of economic efficiency, the paper finds that concepts from public utility regulation may be particularly helpful. Three characteristics are considered: where prices are subsidy-free, whether license provision is a natural monopoly, and whether any competitive submarkets can be structurally separated from the regulated core.

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Piracy Accommodation and the Optimal Timing of Royalty Payments

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 43-60, 2006

Alan E. Woodfield


Abstract

This paper generalizes the two-period model of Watt (2000) who demonstrates the possibility of optimal accommodation of a pirate when the royalty rate applying to a creation is uniform and second-period Cournot competition applies. Admitting nonlinear contracts with period-specific royalty rates that leave total payments unchanged, simulation analysis shows that a producer of originals does better to increase the royalty rate in period 1 and decrease the rate to a negative level in period 2, thereby more than offsetting the usual cost advantage available to a pirate. Watt's illustrative examples regarding piracy accommodation (but not piracy exclusion) are overturned when a nonlinear contract is chosen optimally, although accommodation remains optimal in some other cases. Further, where exclusion is impossible under uniform royalties, cases exist where exclusion is feasible under nonlinear royalties. Even so, accommodation may be a preferable strategy.

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Digital File Sharing and Royalty Contracts in the Music Industry: A Theoretical Analysis

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 29-42, 2006

Norbert J. Michel


Abstract

Although several researchers have examined the impact of copying in other contexts, relatively little theoretical work exists that allows for the presence of a profit maximizing music industry as an intermediary between the creators of intellectual property and consumers. This paper develops a simple theoretical model of interactions between artists who create original musical compositions, record labels that distribute them, and consumers who have the option of copying rather than buying music. The model provides testable price and demand equations and suggests that file sharing may have been undertaken by consumers who were previously not in the market for music.

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Bargaining Theory and Royalty Contract Negotiations

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 19-27, 2006

Abhinay Muthoo


Abstract

This article shows how the principles of modern bargaining theory can help develop a better understanding of contractual terms such as royalties between copyright holders and users such as between an artist and a recording company (or between an author and a publisher). We develop the main principles in a non-technical and illustrative manner.

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Licensing and Royalty Contracts for Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 1-17, 2006

Richard Watt


Abstract

This paper reviews briefly how the owner of the copyright to a creation can best market access to that right to licensees under a variety of assumptions concerning the market. After an introductory section, the paper considers a situation of full certainty, in which the value of the final product that is sold by licensees is fully deterministic. In that setting, we consider a very simple model in which the copyright holder himself may or may not compete with the licensee in the final product market. Above all, it is shown that a linear form for the royalty contract always suffices in equilibrium. After that, a model with certainty as to the market value of the final product is developed. In this model, we consider Pareto efficient sharing contracts, and it is shown that now a linear form is unlikely to suffice. Throughout (i.e. in both sections), we shall be interested in exactly when a linear royalty contract is efficient, since these types of contract are so prevalent in the real world.Finally, as an introduction to the papers contained in the symposium, I devote a few words to each of them in turn.

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Copyright and Creativity: An Application of Cultural Economics

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 83-91, 2006

Ruth Towse


Abstract

This paper argues that the emphasis by policy-makers on creativity and economic growth in the creative industries, fostered by copyright law, is not well grounded and cultural economics gives little support for these policies.

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DRMS, Economics, Copyright and Competition Law: The Australian Experience - The Economic Implications of Stevens v Sony

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 67-82, 2006

Yee Lim


Abstract

This paper will examine the Sony Playstation litigation in Australia where Sony claimed the device it used in its Playstation consoles was a technological protection measure ('TPM'). The outcome of the High Court of Australia decision is somewhat different from similar litigation run by Sony in other countries. Section 3 of this paper will examine the economics of TPMs and in particular, the device which Sony claimed in its Australian litigation was a TPM. It will reveal that copyright owners such as Sony already possess strong market incentives to implement TPMs and that the level of competition is inversely related to the incentive to protect works through TPMs. Section 4 of the paper will introduce the competition law landscape in Australia and it will analyse, within the context of Australia's competition laws, the device used by Sony which it claimed was a TPM. It will demonstrate that the use of the device by Sony is arguably conduct in breach of s46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Section 5 will examine the role of the law in Australia in terms of incentivising the use of TPMs.

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Music Product as a Durable Good and Online Piracy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 53-66, 2006

Sougata Poddar


Abstract

Music is typical experience good and the formats in which music is available; for example, CDs and cassettes or downloaded files are durable in nature. Using these two typical characteristics of the 'music product', in this paper, we develop an analytical framework to study the economic implications of online music piracy. On one hand, we show that no protection against piracy is never optimal for the legitimate music producer; on the other hand, we show that complete protection against piracy may not always be the best option; the decision on the degree of limiting piracy depends on the extent of the informational value of music downloads, cost of piracy and the quality of the downloaded music and as a result a partial protection can be optimal to the music producer.

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Copyright: A Plea for Empirical Research

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 3-13, 2006

Ivan P. L. Png


Abstract

I review empirical research into the economic impact of copyright law. A key difficulty is that there is little systematic measurement of creative output and copying: there are only fragmentary statistics for the various industries. Studies of U.S. copyright registrations provide conflicting results: one shows that small changes in fees have large impacts on renewals, while another shows that many movies and books have long lives. All but one studies find that music piracy - whether conventional or digital - has hurt legitimate CD sales. Studies of extensions of copyright duration yield conflicting results: one focusing on U.S. registrations finds no effect, while a multi-country study finds that extensions are associated with substantial increases in movie production. I conclude with directions for future empirical research.

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Plain Destruction or Creative Destruction? Copyright Erosion and the Evolution of the Record Industry

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 29-51, 2006

Christian W. Handke


Abstract

The record industry has become emblematic in debates on reforming copyright law. Economists have mainly studied the extent to which a surge in unauthorised copying is destroying the industry by displacing demand for authorised copies. The effect of technological change on industry structure has received little attention. This paper presents evidence for an extraordinarily high number of market entries by small record companies during a severe recession in the German market for phonograms. This finding is more consistent with a restructuring of the record industry in the context of technological change - i.e. creative destruction - than with plain destruction due to diminished appropriability. If that is the case, isolated attempts to reinforce copyright protection could be misguided. They should be complemented by efforts to promote innovation within the record industry.

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Piracy and the Demand for Films: Analysis of Piracy Behavior in French Universities

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 15-27, 2006

David Bounie, Patrick Waelbroeck and Marc Bourreau


Abstract

The purpose of this article is to identify which, if any, segments of the movie business have suffered from digital piracy. We use a sample of 620 university members including undergraduate students, graduate students and professors to assess the effect of digital piracy on legal demand. A large percentage of respondents get pirated movies from a variety of channels (on P2P networks, intranet, by physical means. . . ). Surprisingly, approximately one third of the pirates declared that watching pirated movies increased their demand for films (for instance, it led them to rent or purchase videos that they would not have rented or purchased otherwise). Using regressions analysis, we find no impact of piracy on theater attendance, and a strong impact on video rentals and purchases. However, movie piracy has no impact on video rentals for respondents who use pre-paid pricing schemes at video-stores.

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The Economic Contribution of Copyright-Based Industries in Singapore

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 127-148, 2005

Kit B. Chow


Abstract

Started in November 2003, the study is the first in Asia to adopt the new comprehensive WIPO framework for measuring the economic magnitude of copyright-based industries. Singapore's copyright-based industries generated in 2001 an output of S$30.5 billion and value added of S$8.7 billion which was equivalent to 5.7% of GDP. The 29 copyright-based industries provided employment to 118,600 persons or 5.8% of Singapore's workforce in 2001. Through linkages with the rest of the economy, the combined nine core copyright industries are found to have greater-than-average impact on the economy as reflected in their higher output, value added and employment multipliers than that for the whole economy.

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Free Software and Intellectual Property in Brazil: Threats, Opportunites and Motivations

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 95-109, 2005

Antonio M. Buainain and Cassia I. C. Mendes


Abstract

This article discusses the implications of the intellectual property system as applied to software, especially the use of patents, for innovation in developing countries; it also assesses the possible consequences of the appearance of free software and a new intellectual property system in the innovation process in countries such as Brazil; finally, it attempts to analyse the new dimension of intellectual property as well as its context in the current debate on 'global patents' as opposed to a more flexible copyright system. Some of the questions discussed are: Is a more flexible copyright system an instrument to promote technological innovation? Does the reduction of the income of some software companies in developed countries point toward an exhaustion of the sales model of user licenses for software? What are the threats and opportunities for the new business model based on free software and copy left in Brazil? Can the motivations for the use and development of free software promote the Brazilian software industry?

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The Recording Industry's Digital Dilemma: Challenges and Opportunities in High Piracy Markets

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 83-94, 2005

Brett Keintz


Abstract

Globally, the recording industry has experienced significant revenue decline and piracy growth within the last five years. In some countries like the United States, piracy is comprised mainly of the illegal sharing of digital recorded music files such as MP3s. In other countries like Spain, recorded music piracy is dominated by the physical production and sale of CD-Rs by organized crime networks. While there have been a number of legislative and law-enforcement changes made in many countries across the globe, these defensive efforts have at best served to slow piracy's growth. The next step for the recording industry is to develop a recorded digital music strategy for each country in an effort to restore revenue growth and reduce piracy by offering consumers a compelling digital music value proposition. In this paper, I explain why.

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P2P Music Sharing Networks: Why the Legal Fight Against Copiers May Be Inefficient

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 69-82, 2005

Fabrice Rochelandet and Fabrice Le Guel


Abstract

The paper investigates empirically the behavior of copiers over P2P networks based on an ordered Logit model of intensity using a dataset collected from more than 2,500 French households. In accordance with the prediction of the Beckerian framework, copying behavior is negatively correlated with the willingness to pay for an original when a copy is available. But individuals also make their decisions according to their social neighborhood and to the degree to which they have learned about copying. Furthermore, we find that copiers are motivated by the search for diversified contents, and they are also very concerned about the interests of artists. We then consider the efficiency of anti-copying policies on the copying of music and movies.

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