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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Introduction: Copyright and the Publishing of Scientific Works

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1-6, 2010

Richard Watt

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Abstract

This paper is the introduction to the symposium "Copyright in Academic Publishing".

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Radio Airplay, Digital Music Sales and the Fallacy of Composition in New Zealand

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 67-81, 2010

Mehnaz Bandookwala

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Abstract

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.

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Copyright & Endogenous Market Structure: A Glimpse from the Journal Publishing Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 7-29, 2010

Giovanni Battista Ramello

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Abstract

This article explores the journal publishing industry in order to shed light on the overall economic consequences of copyright in markets. Since the rationale for copyright is among others to promise some market power to the holder of the successful copyrighted item, it also provides incentives to preserve and extend market power. A regular trait of copyright industries is high concentration and the creation of large catalogues of copyrights in the hands of incumbents. This outcome can be observed as the aggregation of rights and is one of the pivotal strategies for obtaining or extending market power, consistently with findings in other cases. Journal publishing is no different in this respect from other copyright industries, and in the last decade has experienced a similar trajectory, leading to a highly concentrated industry in which a handful of large firms increasingly control a substantial part of the market.
It also provides a clear example of the effect of copyright dynamics on market structure, suggesting that a different attitude should be taken in lawmaking and law enforcement.

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Visual Artists' Resale Royalty: An Application of the Principal and Agent Model

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 37-43, 2008

Maryam Dilmaghani

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Abstract

The visual artist's resale royalty right entitles an artist to a percentage of the price received by subsequent owners when her works are resold. Adopted by the integrity of EU countries in 2006, the question of the Federal recognition of this right in the US is currently discussed. Economic analysis of this right mostly concluded its inefficiency. In this paper we examine the issue from the stand point of incentives provided by each legal framework, with and without this right, for the artists. We argue that an optimal mechanism designed to implement a maximum level artistic effort in the society coincides with the adoption of this right.

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Intellectual Property: How the Right to Keep it to Yourself Can Facilitate Dissemination

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 17-23, 2005

William J. Baumol

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Abstract

The fundamental conflict in the goals of intellectual property (IP) policy is the apparent incompatibility of protection of the creator and ease of dissemination. Copyrights and patents seem to favor the first goal and conflict with the second, but patents have actually helped to resolve the conflict by transforming the IP into a tradable commodity. As a result, many patent proprietors actively promote use of their IP by others, even direct competitors. Patent licensing is a major revenue source for many firms. Patent pools institutionalize remunerative sharing of IP. Even from their medieval beginnings, patents were used to encourage dissemination and they continue to serve that purpose directly via disclosure requirements. So, perhaps with some redesign and innovative usage, copyrights can help to reconcile the two apparently conflicting goals - provision of incentives for both creative activity and widespread use of its products.

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Value Based Pricing of Music

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 12(1/2), 16-25, 2015

T. Randolph Beard, George S. Ford and Michael L. Stern

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Abstract

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.

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The Limits of Indirect Appropriability in Markets for Copiable Goods

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 19-37, 2005

Justin P. Johnson and Michael Waldman

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Abstract

An extensive literature has developed that argues that in many settings the social welfare costs of copying or piracy are limited because of the presence of indirect appropriability. Indirect appropriability is the idea that original good producers can appropriate some of the value derived by the consumers of copies because of the return that buyers of original units receive from allowing copies to be made. In this paper we discuss the limitations of indirect appropriability, where the two we focus on are the "flooding" of the copy market and substitutability between new units and copies. We also discuss the ramifications of our analysis for real world markets.

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More Music in Movies: What Box Office Data Reveals About the Availability of Public Domain Songs in Movies from 1968-2008

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 31-54, 2012, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 11-23

Paul J. Heald , Peibei Shi, Jeffrey Stoiber and Qingyao Zheng

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Abstract

A previous empirical study suggested that as copyrighted songs transitioned into the public domain they were used just as frequently in movie soundtracks as when they were still legally protected.That study, however, did not account for the number people who viewedeach movie in the theater. Since the debate over copyright term extension centers on the continuing "availability" of works as they fall into the public domain, a better measure of the availability of songs in movies would account for the relative box office success of the movies in which the songs appear. The present study collects box office data for hundreds of movies from 1968-2008 in which appeared hundreds of songs and concludes that public domain songs were heard by just as many people in movie theaters before and after they fell into the public domain.

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Efficiency Considerations in Copyright Protection

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 11-27, 2004

Marcel Boyer

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Abstract

Many countries are revisiting their Copyright law in the light of new communication and information technologies, which make possible the generalized digitization of copyrighted material and in so doing hallenge the protection and enforcement of copyrights. As the laws are modified to adapt to this new environment, the foundations of copyright have been questioned. I claim here that the affirmation and protection of a strong and transparent copyright framework is a second best efficient institutional arrangement to foster cultural development and diversity and promote the emergence of new market-like institutions reducing the costs of transactions between creators and users.

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Sunk Costs, Free-Riding Justifications, and Compulsory Licensing of Interfaces

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 29-53, 2004

Net Le

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Abstract

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.

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Europe's Lost Royalty Opportunity: A Comparison of Potential and Existing Digital Music Royalty Markets in Ten Different EU States

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 60-91, 2014

Roya Ghafele

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Abstract

A comparison of existing online revenues collected from digital music licenses and the potential royalty market for online music, suggests an inadequate royalty market capture within the European Union. An estimate of the 2012 market for digital music royalties in ten different E.U. countries indicates this market could have been well over €18 billion. However, only €116 million were reported by corresponding Collective Rights Management Organizations in that same year. The three largest digital music royalty markets (U.K., Germany and France) comprise around €11 billion. Yet, the corresponding Collective Rights Management Organizations (PRS for Music, SACEM and GEMA) generate only €95 million in royalty revenue from all online media. The gap between existing and potential royalties is tremendous and suggests that E.U. Member States have not come to grips yet with the internet. Their existing business models, paired with a regulatory environment rooted in the 19th century rationale of the Berne Convention has not been supportive of grasping the opportunities provided by a disruptive technology. By consequence, artists do not receive the royalties they deserve, commercial users are exposed to prohibitive license fees and non-commercial users suffer from adequate legal alternatives to digital piracy.

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DRMS, Economics, Copyright and Competition Law: The Australian Experience - The Economic Implications of Stevens v Sony

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 67-82, 2006

Yee Lim

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Abstract

This paper will examine the Sony Playstation litigation in Australia where Sony claimed the device it used in its Playstation consoles was a technological protection measure ('TPM'). The outcome of the High Court of Australia decision is somewhat different from similar litigation run by Sony in other countries. Section 3 of this paper will examine the economics of TPMs and in particular, the device which Sony claimed in its Australian litigation was a TPM. It will reveal that copyright owners such as Sony already possess strong market incentives to implement TPMs and that the level of competition is inversely related to the incentive to protect works through TPMs. Section 4 of the paper will introduce the competition law landscape in Australia and it will analyse, within the context of Australia's competition laws, the device used by Sony which it claimed was a TPM. It will demonstrate that the use of the device by Sony is arguably conduct in breach of s46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Section 5 will examine the role of the law in Australia in terms of incentivising the use of TPMs.

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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

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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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Cartel Sustainability and Piracy in a Vertically Differentiated Oligopoly

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(1), 9-31, 2014

Iacopo Grassi

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Abstract

In recent years economic literature has deeply analyzed piracy and copyright violation. Nevertheless most of the contributions focus on the study of digital markets and monopoly. In this paper we concentrate on the effect the entry of a pirate may have in a vertically differentiated duopoly where originally two firms compete producing a high quality and a low quality good. We show that, under general conditions payoffs of firms might increase with piracy, since piracy may support collusion between the two firms producing the original goods and the collusive profits of the firms in presence of piracy may be bigger than the profits of Nash without piracy. This result may explain the reason why in some markets, like the fashion market, where the producers of the original brands basically control the supply chain of the sector, piracy and production of high quality fakes is huge.

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Optimal Copyright Over Time: Technological Change and the Stock of Works

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 51-64, 2007

Rufus Pollock

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Abstract

The optimal level for copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. Using a parsimonious theoretical model this paper contributes several new results of relevance to this debate. In particular we demonstrate that (a) optimal copyright is likely to fall as the production costs of 'originals' decline (for example as a result of digitization) (b) technological change which reduces costs of production may imply an increase or a decrease in optimal levels of protection (this contrasts with a large number of commentators, particularly in the copyright industries, who have argued that such change necessitates increases in protection) (c) the optimal level of copyright will, in general, fall over time as the stock of work increases.

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