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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

The Past and the Future of the Economics of Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 151-171, 2004

Richard Watt

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Abstract

The economics of copyright as such has certainly come of age. About 70 years has passed since the very first time that economists gave serious thought to the copyright system, although it has been only during the last 20 years that the literature has flourished. In this paper an overview of the general topic of the economics of copyright is given, and the areas that have already be touched upon are discussed. Then, a speculative answer is attempted to the question of what the near future will hold.

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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

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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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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

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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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Profitable Piracy in Music Industries

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1-11, 2009

Koji Domon and Tran D. Lam

Downloads:  310


Abstract

This paper considers how optimal copyright enforcement is affected by the development of those media industries promoting musicians. Accounting for situations in both developing and developed countries, we point out two cases, a strictly convex and a strictly concave profit function with respect to the level of copyright enforcement. In the first case a copyright holder prefers a minimal level of enforcement under immature media industries, and a maximal level of enforcement under mature ones. This means that optimal copyright enforcement switches from minimum to maximum along with the development of media industries. In the second case, optimal copyright enforcement gradually increases concomitant with the development of media industries. If there are various levels of singers, a conflict regarding optimal copyright enforcement among them is more sever in a convex case than in a concave one.

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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

Downloads:  304


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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Language, Copyright and Geographic Segmentation in the EU Digital, Single Market for Music and Film

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(1), 20-37

Estrella Gomez Herrera and Bertin Martens

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Abstract

The EU seeks to create a seamless online Digital Single Market for media products such as digital music and film. The territoriality of the copyright regime is often perceived as an obstacle that induces geographical segmentation. This paper provides empirical evidence on the extent of market segmentation in the EU on the supply side and measures the contribution of several drivers of this segmentation. We use data from the Apple iTunes country stores in 27 EU Member States. We find that availability of EU media products across country stores in the EU is hovering around 80 per cent for music and 40 per cent for films. Recent industry initiatives to reduce the transaction costs of making digital music available across borders have resulted in a reasonably wide availability though still short of the 100 per cent mark. Supply side factors including copyright-related trade costs probably still play a role in music though we can only infer this indirectly in the absence of data on copyright licensing arrangements at product level. Commercial strategies and territorial restrictions in distribution agreements reduce film availability, more so than copyright issues. We also find evidence of price differentiation across iTunes EU country stores.

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DRMS: A New Strategic Stake for Content Industries: The Case of the Online Music Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 53-67, 2005

Joelle Farchy and Heritiana Ranaivoson

Downloads:  300


Abstract

DRMS are often described as essential in the development of the legal online supply of content, notably of music (In this paper, we do not study the cases of sites that sell pre-recorded music, such as Amazon). That is why they are becoming a crucial stake for the whole recovering music industry. In the first section, we will precise the strategic role of DRMS. The market for DRMS in the online music supply is a very recent one, but it is expected to grow rather fast. Moreover, DRMS are becoming the heart of the online music value chain. The aim of this paper is to study the technological competition between the firms that try to impose their standard on the growing market of DRMS. Because this competition relies on the lack of interoperability and on a possible monopolization, we find that the results of this competition may not benefit the content industries.

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Economists' Topsy-Turvy View of Piracy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 5-17, 2005

Stan J. Liebowitz

Downloads:  295


Abstract

Although it was once considered inevitable that unauthorized copying would harm copyright owners, it is now understood that this is not necessarily the case. The concept of indirect appropriability played an important role in shaping this newer understanding. In recent years, however, many economists seem to have taken the message from this new understanding too far, seeing gains to the copyright owners from unauthorized copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited. The current literature on this subject, which consists mainly of theoretical models, seems to be badly out of kilter. In this paper I attempt to explain some of the problems and try to provide the outlines of what I believe to be a more balanced and nuanced view of copying. It emphasizes the importance of examining various institutional and behavioral details of individual markets, which are often overlooked by researchers.

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Museums, Property Rights, and Photographs of Works of Art. Why Reproduction Through Photograph Should Be Free.

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(1), 1-28, 2016

Alain Marciano and Nathalie Moureau

Downloads:  292


Abstract

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.

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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

Downloads:  288


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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Digital Technology, Price Discrimination, and Copyright Duration Extension

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 39-55, 2010

Michael Y. Yuan

Downloads:  285


Abstract

Many countries have yet to decide whether extend copyright duration. Technological changes were cited by a U.S. Senate report to support duration extension. This study adds to the assessment of the validity of the technological argument by simulating the effect on optimal copyright duration of increased price discrimination caused by digital technology. Simulation of a model of information product market indicates that increase of price discrimination on high-end market calls for shorter copyright duration; that on low-end market may support extension, if the discrimination benefits consumers, and otherwise work against it. It further suggests price discrimination on low-end market increases welfare and supply of original information products but that on the high-end market may either increase or decrease them.

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P2P and Piracy: Challenging the Cultural Industries' Financing System

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 55-69, 2004

Joelle Farchy

Downloads:  284


Abstract

Digital technology makes sophisticated means available to the general public for copying works with an equal level of quality to the originals and at increasingly lower prices. Unrestricted copying deprives producers and creators of a share of their potential earnings on the sale of originals. The whole of the traditional system for financing cultural creation could be at risk. There are three mainstays to the conventional financing system: the production of private goods, direct appropriability of revenues, temporary monopoly of exclusive rights. Each one has been called into question by P2P. Content has properties that are growing ever more similar to public goods, raising the question of whether public financing might be possible. Direct appropriability in customary markets is becoming ever more difficult, raising the question of whether new forms of appropriability might be possible, both direct and indirect. Exclusive rights are becoming increasingly ever harder to enforce, raising the question of other possible institutional solutions. To date, the solutions geared to tackling these issues have been largely defensive, and aimed at maintaining the old system's core characteristics (direct appropriability and exclusive rights) through DRM. However, a brief foray into economics literature can reveal some original alternatives solutions even if each one has its advantages and its drawbacks.

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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

Downloads:  283


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 Levies on Hardware

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 20-35, 2013

Patrick Legros and Victor A. Ginsburgh

Downloads:  278


Abstract

The fight against illegal music downloading has taken many forms. Beside legal prosecution (Hadopi in France, for example), many countries have chosen to tax blank tapes and CDs, both to reduce their use for illegal copying, but also to redistribute the proceeds to content providers. This has become less effective, since now illegal copying is stored on hardware devices, such as smartphones, computers, MP3 players, and external hard disks. We provide an economic analysis of the effects of copyright levies on hardware used to access original content. A first effect is to decrease the consumption of both illegal and legal content. We show that in a static model, content providers can hardly be compensated, and therefore are made worse off by the levy. We also consider a dynamic model where current sales contribute to the reputation of the content provider, and to his future revenues. A levy on hardware tends to penalise 'young' content providers in terms of reputation acquisition.

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The Efficiency of Droit De Suite: An Experimental Assessment

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 93-121, 2012

Maryam Dilmaghani and Jim Engle-Warnick

Downloads:  278


Abstract

Droit de suite entitles visual artists to a percentage share of the resale price every time their works are resold over a given time span. The legal systems of the world do not universally accept the concept of droit de suite, and its economic efficiency has been a matter of debate for a few decades. In this paper, we model a work of art as a lottery to investigate experimentally the impact of this right on the art market. We find evidence that a number of known behavioral biases in decisions under uncertainty affect a seller’s willingness to accept. In light of our results, we conclude that the interaction of these biases and droit de suite can reduce the number of transactions in the art market to a larger extent than previously suggested in the literature.

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