The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 53-66, 2006
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(1), 38-64
Promoting Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is of particular importance to nations engaging in significant innovation. The existing literature relating to software piracy research is typified by the use qualitative methods to analyse the impact of IPRs on software piracy. Most concern themselves with a handful of important macroeconomic factors in an effort to identify whether they possess any explanatory power, employing qualitative frameworks for analysis. More contemporary research has given greater attention to the role of key regulatory variables on software piracy using econometric methods. In this paper, the relationship between foreign political pressure, IPR regulatory reforms and software piracy is considered. We estimate a model of software piracy as a function of bi-lateral pressure and investment (where US 301 reporting is the proxy for bilateral pressure, and capital investment the proxy for bi-lateral investment), Scientific investment, trade dependence and government effectiveness. The models are estimated using data from 80 countries over nine years. The study responds to the dearth of research employing dynamic panel estimations in estimating the impact of IPR reforms on software piracy. The findings suggest out of cycle review and US 301 reporting are pertinent factors potentially moderating software piracy.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 93-118, 2004
Stan J. Liebowitz
Unlike television broadcasters, who must negotiate with the copyright owners before they can broadcast movies, radio broadcasters need not negotiate with the copyright holders for the sound recordings broadcast on radio. In the United States radio broadcasters have no obligations whatsoever to the copyright owners of the sound recordings (although they do have obligations to the copyright holders of the music contained in the sound recording). The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that radio broadcasters have argued, and it is generally accepted, that radio play benefits record sales and thus there is no need for radio broadcasters to purchase the rights to broadcast the sound recording. This impact of radio play on record sales is commonly referred to as a "symbiotic" relationship between these two industries. Yet there appears to be no systematic examination of this relationship. In this paper I present evidence indicating that radio play does not benefit overall record sales. There are obvious implications for copyright. I also examine, by way of comparison, television's negative impact on the movie industry.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2019, vol. 16(1/2), pp. 1-39
This paper investigates the conflict between authors and their publishers that occurs as a result of publishers using an ambiguous “work made for hire” clause to sue the author for copyright infringement. A Bayesian signaling model allows a publisher to send an informative signal to the uninformed author that includes his reaction towards a license termination to induce termination deterrence. The model is used to examine the effectiveness of the statutory intervention. The results reveal that complete termination deterrence is an equilibrium outcome only if a publisher sues with certainty. The mere threat to sue is not sufficient for complete termination deterrence. Under most parameter settings, the results indicate positive termination probabilities. The highest probability for a neutral publisher type is obtained in situations where an author has weak outside options or is strongly dependent on his publisher. An author with valuable outside options increases the probability that a publisher will threaten to pursue legal action. If courts tend to favor authors, then termination incentives increase, which may lead to more friction between authors and their publishers.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 55-67, 2013
Digitization has had a profound effect on the management of musical copyrights in terms of data requirements and has vastly increased the volume of transactions: both impacts have raised net costs of administration to collecting societies. This paper explores these points using information provided by PRS for Music, the UK's collecting society managing musical rights and considers them in the wider context of moves on the political front to increase competition in rights management as well as to promote multi-territorial licensing within the EU. An important question for economists is whether the natural monopoly argument for single national collective rights management using blanket licensing still holds up with digitization of music and management of musical rights. This paper suggests that collaborative concentration may be preferable to competition.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(2), 25-65, 2016
Jin-Hyuk Kim and Michael Waldman
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is employed by firms as a way of reducing illegal copying. In this paper we investigate the idea that it can also be associated with an increase in market power in the hardware market. In our main analysis content and hardware are complementary goods, where there are multiple hardware sellers and one of the hardware sellers owns a DRM technology that can be developed into a DRM system that makes legal content incompatible with hardware that does not employ the system. Our primary result is that the hardware producer who initially owns the DRM technology may employ closed DRM to gain market power in the hardware market because this is an efficient way to monetize its initial ownership of the technology. We also show that, depending on whether or not the content developer has positive bargaining power, the introduction of DRM may or may not result in an increase in content development. In addition to investigating these ideas in a number of related theoretical settings, we also consider the social welfare aspects of the argument and discuss its relevance for understanding the early history of Apple's iPod.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 61-74, 2006
Michael A. Einhorn
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.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 1-19, 2013
Wendy J. Gordon
The US Congress has enacted expansions of copyright which arguably impose high social costs and generate little incentives for authorial creativity. When the two most expansive statutes were challenged as unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court rebuffed the challenges, partly on the supposed ground that copyright law could legitimately seek to promote non-authorial interests; apparently, Congress could enact provisions aiming to support non-creative disseminative activities such as publishing, or restoring and distributing old film stock, even if authorial incentives were not served. Such an error might have arisen because of three phenomena (in economics, history, and law, respectively) that might easily be misunderstood but which, when unpacked, no longer lead plausibly to a stand-alone embrace of disseminator interests. The purpose of this article is to analyse and comment on this error from several relevant points of view.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, 14(1/2), 45-54, 2017
This Panel concerns possible lessons for European copyright practitioners learned from the North American experience. I pose two key questions that arise from our existing copyright tariff setting processes: 1) do we need regulatory intervention to achieve appropriate prices?; and 2) how has the process worked so far and how can we make the process better?Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 57-79
Richard Watt and Frank Mueller-Langer
Under current copyright law in many countries, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be found liable for the traffic on the websites that they host. While the ISPs themselves are not undertaking acts that infringe copyright, indirect liability asserts that they either contribute to, or encourage in some way, infringing activities, and thus they are liable to claims of indirect involvement by the affected copyright holders. The present paper explores indirect liability in a standard principal-agent setting, where both moral hazard (the act of monitoring) and adverse selection (differential costs of monitoring over ISPs) are present. The model considers the kinds of contracts that could be signed between the copyright holders (acting through a collective) and the ISPs (acting individually). We specify the contracts that are self-selecting and incentive compatible for the set of feasible scenarios.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 27-59, 2014
Maurice C. Samuel
Digitisation and adoption of increasingly fast broadband Internet represent the two fundamental 'winds of change' that have transformed the UK music industry since the 1980s. This paper examines the impact of these changes on sales of music and, by extension, on the royalties of creators of music, in both nominal and real terms. It identifies weaknesses and threats in both, opportunities that might be developed as responses, and possible hypotheses for future economic research that are likely to be of interest to the sector in providing evidence in the debates around appropriate strategies and policies.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(1), 1-19
In recent decades, the problem of illegal downloading of copyrighted material has emerged as a major concern for governments across the globe. Many countries have implemented policies to limit the impact of online piracy on revenues of creative industries. These policies, while important for a broad range of industries, have been particularly lobbied for and supported by the motion pictures industry. Film production and distribution companies have repeatedly asserted that effective anti-piracy policy is crucial to their continued success. This paper seeks to evaluate whether the anti-piracy regimes in OECD countries have been effective. It also seeks to determine whether there are patterns to the types of policies that have been especially effective or ineffective.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 55-74, 2008
Giovanni Battista Ramello and Francesco Silva
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2019, vol. 16(1/2), pp. 40-67
Frank Mathewson, E. Jane Murdoch and Gerry Wall
This paper discusses the connection between rate regulation and bargaining out- comes. We consider the case of licensing musical works for radio broadcasting. Our model illustrates the impact when music broadcasters can switch to a talk format. Using a generalized Nash bargaining setting, we interpret the revenue sharing rules established within the regulatory regimes in the US and Canada. In any negotiations over a sharing rule with the collectives that own the musical works rights, the ability of broadcasters to switch from a music to a talk format constitutes the threat point for the broadcasters. Using US and Canadian data for 2014 and 2015, we derive the bargaining weights that would generate the same revenue flows for broadcast- ers and collectives as those produced under the shadow of a copyright regulatory regime. These numerical examples show a higher weight to collectives than appears from the stated tariff rates.Click to read more.