The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 151-171, 2004
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 12(1/2), 16-25, 2015
T. Randolph Beard, George S. Ford and Michael L. Stern
In the regulatory setting of rates for statutory-licensed music services, the question of value-based versus cost-based rate setting for the component-rights of a musical performance arises. In this article, we have demonstrated this value-or-cost question is a distinction without a difference. Starting with the value-based concept of second-best (or Ramsey) prices, we end with a result prescribing that cost differences should be fully reflected in compensation across the inputs to the music recording. Each price is set so that the costs are covered, no more and no less.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 35-60, 2009
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2020, vol. 17(1), pp. 38-59
Edmond Baranes, Cuong Hung Vuong and Mourad Zeroukhi
This paper analyzes the competitive strategy of a proprietary software (PS) firm in the presence of open source software (OSS) where the copyright holder has granted software users access and use of OSS without any obligation regarding source code disclosure and royalty payments. The OSS is developed by volunteer programmers, while the firm incurs costs to hire programmers to build the PS. The firm has a quality advantage because, first, it can provide professional technical support and promotion, and second, it is difficult for the OS community to collaborate for the production and maintenance of the OSS. The analysis is based on two scenarios: (1) the OSS is available free of charge; (2) the OSS is distributed by fringe vendors who can provide OSS quality upgrades. We find that both types of software can coexist in equilibrium. Furthermore, despite the fact that PS enjoys a quality advantage, it will optimally set a lower quality than OSS. The comparative statics show that a change in each market parameter can lead the firm to simultaneously increase (or decrease) both the PS price and quality. We consequently evaluate the impact on the firm's profit and consumer surplus.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. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 12(1/2), 1-15, 2015
David R. Strickler
Judges who set copyright royalty rates through litigation, like all trial Judges, are constrained by the evidence and testimony. Thus, we can only determine rates that are supported by the record. For the record to be sufficient, testifying economists must be able to apply a sufficient body of work in the economics of copyrights. In my address to the 2015 SERCI Congress, I emphasized the judicial need for continued and comprehensive research in this field, so that testifying economists can provided a foundation for our determinations. In this article, I explore such issues in more detail.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 45-67, 2005
Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine
In the modern theory of innovation, monopoly plays a crucial role both as a cause and an effect of creative economic activity. Innovative firms, it is argued, would have insufficient incentive to innovate should the prospect of monopoly power not be present. This theme of monopoly runs throughout the theory of growth, international trade, and industrial organization. We argue that monopoly is neither needed for, nor a necessary consequence of innovation. In particular, intellectual property is not necessary for, and may hurt more than help, innovation and growth. We show that, in most circumstances, competitive rents allow creative individuals to appropriate a large enough share of the social surplus generated by their innovations to compensate for their opportunity cost. We also show that, as the number of pre-existing and IP protected ideas needed for an innovation increases, the equilibrium outcome under the IP regime is one of decreasing probability of innovation, while this is not the case without IP. Finally, we provide various examples of how competitive markets for innovative products would work in the absence of IP and critically discuss a number of common fallacies in the previous literature.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 75-87, 2008
Ana Maria Tetrel
In the law and economics literature of copyright, the economic function of collecting societies has been principally treated as a way to diminish transaction costs. However, another possible function, the transfer of risk as a function of collective administration has been, relatively, ignored. Through risk analysis, an author will be able to determine which method of administration of protected rights is most beneficial to him. Due to information asymmetries, authors and users bear a number of risks. These risks can be transferred to a collecting society which is in a better position to bear them more efficiently and to better administer the protected rights.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 67-81, 2010
I examine the effect that radio airplay has on the sale of digital music in New Zealand. This effect is also likely to influence the behavior of various music industry participants, including the record companies, radio industry and listeners. I find that on an industry level, radio airplay has no significant effect on the sale of digital music. However, on average, an increase in radio airplay of a given song is predicted to increase sales of that song, which is the so-called exposure effect. The discrepancy between the aggregate and individual effects is explained by the existence of the fallacy of composition: An increase in the airplay of a particular song usually happens at the expense of another song's airplay, and so if more airplay does give greater sales of a given song, so less airplay will reduce the sales of competing songs, leading to ambiguous aggregate effects. It is also true that while individual songs compete with other songs for airplay, the radio industry competes with other activities and products consumed by listeners. Increases in the total airplay may not increase total sales, as the listener's decision regarding digital single purchase is now made with consideration of their non-music consumption goods, and budget and time constraints.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 93-121, 2012
Maryam Dilmaghani and Jim Engle-Warnick
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 29-53, 2004
This paper addresses two popular arguments against a compulsory license of software interface, using risk analysis methodology. These concerns are the non-recovery of sunk costs and the threats posed by free riders. My argument is that while both concerns are legitimate, they are remediable. The purpose of the law is not to allow the incumbent to recover its 'sunk costs', but to give sufficient incentives for it to innovate. These two incentives are the monetary incentives (finding fair access fees and stimulating cooperation with the entrants after the license) and the time incentive (finding a period during which refusal to license is acceptable). With respect to the fair amount of access fees, it is better to provide a mechanism so that the licensor and the licensee can negotiate the fees themselves, rather than to impose a strict method of fee calculation. If the monetary incentives alone are sufficient to generate motivation for innovation, the time incentive should not be used.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 5-10, 2004
Paul A. David
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 127-148, 2005
Kit B. Chow
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 3-34, 2011
This paper analyzes and compares two types of cooperative agreements that combine Intellectual Property (IP): patent pools and copyright collectives. I evaluate antitrust policy in three environments in which owners of the intellectual property (IP): (1) are vertically integrated into the downstream (product) market; (2) face competition in the upstream (input) market and (3) own downstream products that do not require a license on the pooled IP but compete with products that do. Although patent pools and copyright collectives differ in purpose, membership size and market conditions, their efficiency implications are qualitatively similar in each of the three situations. Therefore, a uniform rather than IP-specific competition policy is appropriate for pools and collectives, thus lending economic support for the approach followed by antitrust authorities toward IP-related cooperative agreements.Click to read more.