The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Forever Minus a Day? Calculating Optimal Copyright Term

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 35-60, 2009

Rufus Pollock

Downloads:  614


Abstract

The optimal term of copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. Based on a novel approach we derive an explicit formula which characterises the optimal term as a function of a few key and, most importantly, empirically-estimable parameters. Using existing data on recordings and books we obtain a point estimate of around 15 years for optimal copyright term with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years. This is substantially shorter than any current copyright term and implies that existing terms are too long.

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Digital File Sharing and the Music Industry: Was There a Substitution Effect?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 41-52, 2005

Norbert J. Michel

Downloads:  605


Abstract

Several empirical studies exist that measure the impact of filesharing services on music sales, and most suggest that there was a negative impact on sales. Still, most of these studies do not examine (at the household level) whether consumers substituted out of music and into movies. This paper uses micro-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (1998 through 2003) to test for this possible substitution effect. The data do not support the hypothesis that music consumers spent less on music because they spent more on either movie tickets or prerecorded movies (purchases or rentals).

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The End of Copyright History?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 5-10, 2004

Paul A. David

Downloads:  604


Abstract

The history of the copyright system appears to be approaching an end. A pressing question now is whether or not the particular manner of its passing will be one that proves seriously destructive for cultural vitality and the advancement of knowledge.

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OSS Production and Licensing Strategies of Software Firms

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 111-125, 2005

Heli A. Koski

Downloads:  601


Abstract

This study sheds light on the relatively recently emerged new business models employing open source activities in the software industry. We analyze data from 73 Finnish OSS companies' product type (i.e. proprietary vs. OSS product) and license type (i.e. the copyleft vs. non-copyleft licenses)choices. Our data indicate that firm ownership structure has a major influence on software firms' business strategies. Family owned firms tend to rely on the traditional proprietary software in their product selection, whereas diffusely held companies are more likely to supply OSS products. We also find that more service oriented firms are likely to offer more complementary products and further supply their products more often under the OS licenses. Moreover, the market trends concerning a firm's software products affect the license type decisions of the software firms. Consistent with the international data on the dominance of the Apache server that is released under the non-copyleft license, we find that servers are more likely to be licensed under the non-copyleft license. Our estimation results further suggest that a more restrictive form of open source licenses, the copyleft license, is used more often in those companies that have participated in open source software development projects. This finding is consistent with earlier studies that have found that more than 70% of the OSS development projects employ the GPL copyleft license.

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Economics of Copyright Collecting Societies and Digital Rights: Is There a Case for a Centralised Digital Copyright Exchange?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012

Ruth Towse

Downloads:  600


Abstract

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.

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The Winds of Change. Journey of UK Music from the Old World to The New World

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 27-59, 2014

Maurice C. Samuel

Downloads:  594


Abstract

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.

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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

Downloads:  594


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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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

Downloads:  581


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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Dissemination Must Serve Authors: How the U.S. Supreme Court Erred

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 1-19, 2013

Wendy J. Gordon

Downloads:  580


Abstract

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.

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Capabilities, Spillovers, and Intellectual Progress: Toward a Human Flourishing Theory of Intellectual Property

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 14(1/2), 1-38, 2017

Brett M. Frischmann

Downloads:  575


Abstract

Courts, commentators, and even casebooks mistakenly assume that intellectual property laws are fundamentally utilitarian and thus the relevant objective for intellectual property laws is maximizing social welfare. Economic theories of intellectual property dominate while rights-based theories and other alternatives struggle to remain relevant in the discourse. This essay accepts that intellectual property laws are consequentialist, but it mounts a challenge to the utilitarian theories that dominate. Following the path set by Amartya Sen in the area of development economics and borrowing heavily from the Sen's analytical and normative framework - the Capabilities Approach, this essay begins to develop a human flourishing theory for intellectual property.

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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

Downloads:  575


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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The Four P's of Digital Distribution in the Internet Era: Piracy, Pie-Splitting, and Pipe Control

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 3-20, 2010

Joel Waldfogel

Downloads:  561


Abstract

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.

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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

Downloads:  558


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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Digital Rights Management and Hardware Market Power

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(2), 25-65, 2016

Jin-Hyuk Kim and Michael Waldman

Downloads:  554


Abstract

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.

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The Economic Effects of Digitization on the Administration of Musical Copyrights

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 55-67, 2013

Ruth Towse

Downloads:  554


Abstract

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.

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