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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

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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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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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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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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Copyright Licensing Under Asymmetric Information

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 1-26, 2014

Inés Macho-Stadler and David Pérez-Castrillo

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Abstract

In this paper we aim to contribute to the discussion on the role of royalties in copyright agreements by concentrating on the incentives that they provide to the creator and the intermediary when the success of the work depends on their involvement with the commercialization process. We also consider the effect of this moral hazard on the matching among creators and intermediaries and their gains.

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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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The Use of Vertical Market Prices in Setting Copyright Tariffs and Rates

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(2), 66-82, 2016

Gerry Wall and Bernie Lefebvre

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Abstract

With the lack of direct markets to examine, copyright setting agencies often adopt a total proxy approach whereby other markets are used to formulate benchmark prices. In this paper, we utilize a "downstream" market to estimate the value to a commercial "rights user" of distant television signals. This "partial proxy" approach has two advantages: it uses data drawn from the distant signal market (i.e. vertical market information) and it uses actual market pricing data from buyers and sellers of programming content.
Using this data, we derive estimates of the wholesale market value of distant TV signals. Based on our analysis we find that the current per signal payment to distant signal rights-holders (as certified by the Copyright Board of Canada) is less than the actual market value of those signals.

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The Economic Contribution of the Copyright-Based Sector in the Netherlands

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 65-69, 2004

Jules Theeuwes

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Abstract

It is hard if not impossible to quantify all the economic effects of press and publishing, arts, design, software and all other copyright-based sectors. Copyright sectors first of all produce value added and generate income; they create employment and contribute to the balance of payments. But the products and services have much wider implications and positive external effects on the economy than can be measured by adding up value added produced and employment generated. It is often tried to capture those more far reaching effects in general terms such as the 'knowledge economy' filled with 'creative workers' (see, for instance Florida, 2002). There is certainly truth in the general perception that creativity, which is the stuff, materialized in the goods and services produced by the copyright-based industry, can change the economy and have an influence on the well being of everybody. But it is impossible to capture this perception in hard numbers. Quite well doable however is to capture the measurable parts of the economic contribution in numbers. What I present in below is a measurement of value added and employment of the copyright-based industry in the Netherlands over the past decades. I will also briefly present numbers on the contribution of the copyright-based sector on imports and exports.

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Truce in the Copyright War? The Pros and Cons of Copyright Compensation Systems for Digital Use

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 23-56

Christian W. Handke, João Quintais and Balázs Bodó

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Abstract

This paper discusses copyright compensation systems (CCS) -- that provide licenses for downloading and non-commercial use of copyright works in return for a fee -- in the light of welfare economics and transaction cost economics. Recent empirical studies suggest that CCS could improve social welfare at least for recorded music. The general theme of the theoretical discussion in this paper is a simplicity-flexibility trade-off. On the one hand, CCS seek to reduce the costs of administering and trading copyrights online. On the other hand, standard copyright licenses distort the market mechanism. This paper discusses the costs and benefits of various CCS proposals compared to alternative ways of managing copyright online.

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Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? The Division of Private Copy Remuneration between Authors of Text and Images

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(1), 29-60, 2016

Juan Santaló

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Abstract

I propose and implement a method to divide the collection of private copy remuneration between the authors of text and the authors of images. I propose that the division should be based on the economic value added by text and images in the original work. Using a unique dataset of books and magazines copied in Spain, I estimate the economic value of each item, text and image, according to different characteristics of the written creative work. My estimates indicate that the average economic value of the images is between 6.35% and 20.00% of the average economic value of the text. These numbers are close to estimates that simply use the proportion of space occupied by images to proxy their economic value.

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Piracy Accommodation and the Optimal Timing of Royalty Payments

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 43-60, 2006

Alan E. Woodfield

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Abstract

This paper generalizes the two-period model of Watt (2000) who demonstrates the possibility of optimal accommodation of a pirate when the royalty rate applying to a creation is uniform and second-period Cournot competition applies. Admitting nonlinear contracts with period-specific royalty rates that leave total payments unchanged, simulation analysis shows that a producer of originals does better to increase the royalty rate in period 1 and decrease the rate to a negative level in period 2, thereby more than offsetting the usual cost advantage available to a pirate. Watt's illustrative examples regarding piracy accommodation (but not piracy exclusion) are overturned when a nonlinear contract is chosen optimally, although accommodation remains optimal in some other cases. Further, where exclusion is impossible under uniform royalties, cases exist where exclusion is feasible under nonlinear royalties. Even so, accommodation may be a preferable strategy.

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Getting Pricing Right on Digital Music Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 1-22

Joshua S. Gans

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Abstract

This paper provides an overview of economic approaches to the pricing of mechanical royalties for copy-protected music works. It argues that principles for such pricing can be provided usefully from principles of pricing access to essential facilities. In particular, the structure of the royalty should be such that the royalty level does not change if the business model of downstream entities (notably, digital music streaming platforms) changes (i.e., neutrality) and the level of the royalty should ensure that the copyright holders receive a return in excess of their next best alternative in reaching consumers (i.e., opportunity cost). Ways of using benchmarking to derive the relevant opportunity cost are then discussed including the use of methods inspired by economic bargaining approaches such as the Shapley Value.

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Intellectual Property Regulation and Software Piracy: A Dynamic Approach

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(1), 38-64

Michael D'Rosario

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Abstract

Promoting Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is of particular importance to nations engaging in significant innovation. The existing literature relating to software piracy research is typified by the use qualitative methods to analyse the impact of IPRs on software piracy. Most concern themselves with a handful of important macroeconomic factors in an effort to identify whether they possess any explanatory power, employing qualitative frameworks for analysis. More contemporary research has given greater attention to the role of key regulatory variables on software piracy using econometric methods. In this paper, the relationship between foreign political pressure, IPR regulatory reforms and software piracy is considered. We estimate a model of software piracy as a function of bi-lateral pressure and investment (where US 301 reporting is the proxy for bilateral pressure, and capital investment the proxy for bi-lateral investment), Scientific investment, trade dependence and government effectiveness. The models are estimated using data from 80 countries over nine years. The study responds to the dearth of research employing dynamic panel estimations in estimating the impact of IPR reforms on software piracy. The findings suggest out of cycle review and US 301 reporting are pertinent factors potentially moderating software piracy.

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A Comment: Number-Crunching is Not Just a Neutral Activity

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 79-82, 2004

Ruth Towse

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Abstract

Many of the concerns expressed here were brought up in WIPO meetings in which I took part. Excellent work has been done on the preparation of the WIPO Handbook and by the various researchers in the classification of data and of solving measurement problems. They are a testimony to the power of rigorous economic thinking and professionalism.

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Indirect Copyright Infringement Liability for an ISP: An Application of the Theory of the Economics of Contracts under Asymmetric Information

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 57-79

Richard Watt and Frank Mueller-Langer

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Abstract

Under current copyright law in many countries, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be found liable for the traffic on the websites that they host. While the ISPs themselves are not undertaking acts that infringe copyright, indirect liability asserts that they either contribute to, or encourage in some way, infringing activities, and thus they are liable to claims of indirect involvement by the affected copyright holders. The present paper explores indirect liability in a standard principal-agent setting, where both moral hazard (the act of monitoring) and adverse selection (differential costs of monitoring over ISPs) are present. The model considers the kinds of contracts that could be signed between the copyright holders (acting through a collective) and the ISPs (acting individually). We specify the contracts that are self-selecting and incentive compatible for the set of feasible scenarios.

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