The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
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.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 15-25, 2007
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 111-125, 2005
Heli A. Koski
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 69-82, 2005
Fabrice Rochelandet and Fabrice Le Guel
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.Click to read more.
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, 13(1), 1-28, 2016
Alain Marciano and Nathalie Moureau
The law concerning the reproduction of works of art is unambiguous: the owner of the physical item does not own the right to copy and reproduce it. The copyright or right to reproduce a work of art either belongs to the artist and his/her heirs, or to everybody when the work is in the public domain. However, a large number of museums use their property rights to assume a copyright, i.e. a right to reproduce works of art. These illegal practices are the result of choosing a business model based on the desire to cross-subsidise the upstream market of the services provided to the public with the benefits obtained by monopolising the "downstream" market of the copies or reproductions of works of art. The objective of this paper is to show that this is not efficient. We argue that this strategy conflicts with the mission upheld by museums and prevents certain externalities from circulating in the society.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, Vol. 2, No. 2, 83-94, 2005
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 45-65, 2010
Frank Mueller-Langer and Richard Watt
In a recent paper, Prof. Steven Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) has argued strongly in favor of eliminating copyright from academic works. Based upon solid economic arguments, Shavell analyses the pros and cons of removal of copyright and in its place to have a pure open access system, in which authors (or more likely their employers) would provide the funds that keep journals in business. In this paper we explore some of the arguments in Shavell’s paper, above all the way in which the distribution of the sources of journal revenue would be altered, and the feasible effects upon the quality of journal content. We propose a slight modification to a pure open access system which may provide for the best of both the copyright and open access worlds.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 3-13, 2006
Ivan P. L. Png
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.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, 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. 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, 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, Vol. 4, No. 1, 3-14, 2007
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.Click to read more.