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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

A Response to Prof. Shavell's 'Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished?'

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 31-44, 2010

Hossein Nabilou

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Abstract

Undoubtedly, the idea of strong property rights is the underlying idea of economics and one of the main sources of economic incentive. In his paper, Prof. Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) seems to question and eventually impugn the idea of the economic efficiency of property rights in the market place of ideas in the academic world. In this regard, I will criticize his paper with the economic methods and will explain how Prof. Shavell's idea of the abolishing copyrights for the academic works might suffer from inconsistencies and also lacks the merits in generating a more economically efficient atmosphere for the academic works.

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Indirect Appropriability 20 Years on

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1-4, 2005

Richard Watt

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Abstract

20 years ago, Stan Liebowitz's famous paper on indirect appropriability was published in the Journal of Political Economy. At the time, it would surely have been impossible to predict the impact that the paper, together with two or three others published in the same journal at around the same time, would have on the fledgling area of economics that was being re-born under the label of "the economics of copyright."

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In Search of a Methodology to Assess the Copyright Industries in Developing Countries: The Experience of Mercosur and Chile

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

Antonio M. Buainain

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Abstract

The object of this paper is to present the methodology and key findings of a study entitled The Economic Importance of the Industries & Activities Protected by Copyright or Related Intellectual Property Rights in the Mercosur Countries Plus Chile, which may be useful as a basis for similar research in other developing countries. It should be noted that this is not an academic study designed to investigate hypotheses on the dynamics and role of the copyright industries or the role of intellectual property and related rights in the formation and evolution of the copyright industries. The purpose of the study is more modest. Its authors set out to describe the copyright industries in general terms and measure their importance in income formation, job creation and trade in the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) plus Chile. The study was commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Mercosur countries plus Chile, which were interested in assessing the economic importance of the copyright industries in those countries.

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Copyright Auctions and the Asset Value of a Copyright Work

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(2), 83-99, 2016

Ruth Towse

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Abstract

Research on the economic history of copyright and music publishing turned up an unusual source of data on the value of copyrights, namely detailed accounts of public auctions of musical items that were held in London between 1794 and 1960 of, inter alia, copyrights and the engraved plates from which musical works were printed. The standard contract between song writers/composers and music publishers in the 19th century bought out all rights and therefore the sale of the plates was also the sale of the copyright to the work, enabling the new owner to print and distribute the work. The sales also facilitated entry into and exit from the industry.
This paper describes the historical circumstances of copyright and the market for printed music and presents some of the more notable data, with calculations of their present day values. Though insufficient for a full statistical analysis, the paper provides some hard evidence of the asset value of copyright in musical works as perceived by the music publishers of those times. The paper also suggests a basis for further research.

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The Measurement of Copyright Industries: The US Experience

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 17-25, 2004

Steve Siwek

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Abstract

This paper outlines the experiences of the economist who elaborated the studies on the economic importance of copyright for the US economy.

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Some Challenges for Copyright-Related Quantification

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 41-50, 2004

Jeremy Thorpe

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Abstract

Drawing on personal experience, this note outlines a number of the methodological challenges that exist when trying to provide some quantification of the economic impacts and contributions related to copyright law and policy (See The Allen Consulting Group, 2003a, The Allen Consulting Group,2001, and The Allen Consulting Group, 2003b).

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The Effects of the Berne Convention on Translations in the Netherlands

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

Leo Fankhanel

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Abstract

The Berne Convention was the first attempt to recognise the copyright of foreign authors and their translations. I create a unique dataset to analyse the long run effects of the Berne Convention in 1912 in the Netherlands. Using pre-post statistical analysis and regression discontinuity design I find a significant decrease in the number of books translated per capita and an increase in translations per author.

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Should Different Information Economies Have the Same Duration of Copyright?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 13-33, 2009

Michael Y. Yuan

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Abstract

Copyright has been increasingly internationalized and, recently, more and more harmonized. However, there has been little theoretical study of international copyright. This paper develops and analyzes a non-cooperative two-country model of copyright, where two countries trade in information goods and each with an open and competitive information goods industry sets copyright policy to pursue self-national interest. The model suggests that an increase in demand for information goods in a country calls for longer copyright protection in this country and shorter protection in its trading partner; decreases in fixed or per-product creative costs in a country with lower such costs call for marginally shorter protection; and an improvement in the economies of creative scale in a country with better economies of creative scale calls for marginally longer protection. Understanding these rational responses of nations to changes in creative technologies and markets should be helpful for international copyright-policy making.

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Indefinitely Renewable Copyright and the Current Copyright System: A Two Country Setting Comparison

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 35-54, 2011

Michael Y. Yuan and Koji Domon

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Abstract

As an alternative to the current copyright system (FLC), indefinitely renewable copyright (IRC) has not been compared to the current system in international settings. We compare them in a two country setting. We find that optimally configured IRC does not necessarily lead to higher national or global welfare than an optimally configured FLC.

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Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913-32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968-2007)

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 31-60, 2009

Paul J. Heald

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Abstract

Some economists assert that as valuable works transition from copyrighted status and fall into the public domain they will be underexploited and their value dissipated. Others insist instead that without an owner to control their use, valuable public domain works will be overexploited or otherwise debased. This study of the most valuable musical compositions from 1913-32 demonstrates that neither hypothesis is true as it applies to the exploitation of songs in movies from 1968-2007. When compositions fall into the public domain, they are just as likely to be exploited in movies, suggesting no under-exploitation. And the rate of exploitation of these public domain songs is no greater than that of copyrighted songs, indicating no congestion externality. The absence of market failure is likely due to producer and consumer self-regulation.

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Book Review: The Economics of Copyright: Developments in Research and Analysis, by W. J. Gordon and R. Watt (Eds.)

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 173-175, 2004

Michael J. Rushton

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Abstract

The ten papers in this book were first presented at the SERCI annual congress in Madrid in 2002. In her introduction to the volume, co-editor Wendy Gordon notes that the technology that enables us to preserve and make reproductions of creative works changes the entire cultural landscape, as it provides authors with a means of earning income from the general public as consumers, and not just from patronage appointments. This shift in the source of income will change the kind of works that are created. Importantly, "it was to harness the extra value enabled by technology that copyright was invented" (p. xviii). It is therefore appropriate that much of this valuable volume of new research on the economics of copyright is concerned with the response of copyright policy and market contractual arrangements to changing technology.

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RERCI

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1-4, 2009

Richard Watt

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Abstract

The year 2009 has come to an end, and with it this second issue of the sixth volume of the Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, or RERCI. It has, at least in the opinion of the Managing Editor, been an extremely productive six first years of the life of this journal, and it has moved from its inception in 2004 as a start-up hoping to find a foothold in the competitive world of academic economics journals, to what I believe is now a widely recognised source of rigorous academic work on the very particular topic of the economics of copyright.

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Introduction

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 3-15, 2005

Marcel Boyer and Gilles McDougall

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Abstract

The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues held its 2005 Congress in Montrýal, Canada. Some of the papers presented at that congress are contained in this issue of RERCI. This introduction also includes a report on the round table session which was held on the pricing of copyright. For the sake of this introduction, the presentations could be informally regrouped under three headings: the proper compensation principles for copyrights; the phenomenon of copying and sharing, including the piracy activity; the development of the open/free source software movement.

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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

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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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A Comment: The 'Copyright Factors'

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 71-78, 2004

Richard Watt

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Abstract

In this paper, I have suggested the possibility of a simple calculation that returns a lower bound on the total contribution of copyright to GDP, once the groupings between the core, and unrelated activities has been made, but independently of the exact weights that should be assigned to the activities that are not in either of these two groups (i.e. those that remain in the related group). On the other hand, in order to do this it was necessary to take a particular definition of exactly what particular activities should be included in the related group (activities that, without having a copyright factor of 1, are on average at least as dependent upon copyright as is the economy as a whole). Thus, with a relatively low level of effort, one can get what appears to be quite an accurate, but still only intended as a rough estimate, answer to the question of exactly what is the total contribution of copyright to GDP.

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