The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

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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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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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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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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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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The U.S. Copyright Termination Law, Asymmetric Information, and Legal Uncertainty

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2019, vol. 16(1/2), pp. 1-39

Michael Karas

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Abstract

This paper investigates the conflict between authors and their publishers that occurs as a result of publishers using an ambiguous “work made for hire” clause to sue the author for copyright infringement. A Bayesian signaling model allows a publisher to send an informative signal to the uninformed author that includes his reaction towards a license termination to induce termination deterrence. The model is used to examine the effectiveness of the statutory intervention. The results reveal that complete termination deterrence is an equilibrium outcome only if a publisher sues with certainty. The mere threat to sue is not sufficient for complete termination deterrence. Under most parameter settings, the results indicate positive termination probabilities. The highest probability for a neutral publisher type is obtained in situations where an author has weak outside options or is strongly dependent on his publisher. An author with valuable outside options increases the probability that a publisher will threaten to pursue legal action. If courts tend to favor authors, then termination incentives increase, which may lead to more friction between authors and their publishers.

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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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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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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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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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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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Law and Innovation in Copyright Industries

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 61-82, 2009

Matthew J. Baker and Brendan Michael Cunningham

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Abstract

The impact of copyright law on innovation is a topic of much debate. We use quarterly data on aggregate copyright applications in both the U.S. and Canada to estimate an empirical model of copyright applications. We measure changes in the breadth of copyright protection by tabulating outcomes of important court cases and new statutes pertaining to copyright protection. We find that the flow of applications exhibits a small but significant positive response to court decisions broadening copyright protection. We also find that applications: 1) respond negatively to increases in registration fees 2) move counter-cyclically 3) have a strong seasonal component and 4) may increase as computing technology becomes more widely available.

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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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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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