The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

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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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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Guest Editors' Foreword

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1-3, 2004

Francesco Silva and Giovanni Battista Ramello

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The Information Society is closely linked to both communication processes and to the market exchange of information goods. Therefore the production of copyrighted works represents today a significant part, both quantitatively and qualitatively, of the economies of post-industrial countries. And in this scenario copyright is increasingly playing a pivotal role in markets.

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Guest Editor's Introduction

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1-3, 2007

Christian W. Handke

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The Society of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (SERCI) Annual Congress 2007 was hosted by the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. The congress was fully subscribed with well over 90 registered participants from 18 different countries. It attracted 48 academic researchers who presented 27 papers, four of which make up this special issue of the Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues. The SERCI Annual Congress 2007 also featured a special session on the economics of copyright collecting societies. This session proved particularly interesting to policy-makers and practitioners and triggered a diverse debate.

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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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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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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

Downloads:  200


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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Competitive Strategy of Proprietary Software Firms in an Open Source Environment

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2020, vol. 17(1), pp. 38-59

Edmond Baranes, Cuong Hung Vuong and Mourad Zeroukhi

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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.

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Copyright Enforcement and Quality Differentiation on the Internet

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 27-54, 2013

Marine Lefort

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Right-holders can create differences between their cultural goods to attract consumers with varying levels of willingness to pay. Some Internet intermediaries propose similar choices but do so without authorization. In this paper, we present a theoretical model of copyright piracy in which a rightholder competes in price with an Internet intermediary in a leader-follower game. The Internet intermediary provides two types of streaming goods (with and without restrictions). Copyright and intellectual property rights on the Internet are subject to ex-post adjudication. This means that enforcement can lead to uncertainty regarding Internet intermediaries' liability. We analyze how copyright enforcement and quality differences impact price competition. Our analysis suggests that law uncertainty plays a role in an intermediary's decision to enter the market, and thus that quality has an impact on law enforcement efficiency.

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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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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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Accounting for Creativity: Lessons from the Economic History of Intellectual Property and Innovation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2020, vol. 17(1), pp. 1-37

B. Zorina Khan

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Social progress depends on the realization of inventive ideas, and economic history provides valuable lessons about creativity in technology and culture. The empirical study of over one hundred thousand innovative individuals who obtained patents, copyrights, and prizes, sheds light on the relationship between institutions, incentives, and transformative ideas and expression, over the past two centuries. The European growth model assumed useful knowledge was scarce, and top-down administered innovation systems offered rights and rewards to "exclusive" groups. By contrast, American policies regarded creativity as widely distributed in the general population, and further promoted "inclusive" market-oriented mechanisms that fostered diversity in ideas and outcomes. The evidence suggests that property rights in patents facilitated markets in ideas, and ensured that returns were aligned with productivity and market demand. Whereas, such administered systems as innovation prizes and publisher's copyrights in the "creative industries" benefited the few rather than overall social welfare.

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Compulsory licensing for radio-play of music in India: Recent history and economic context

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2020, vol. 17(1), pp. 60-77

Megha Patnaik

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Compulsory licensing of sound recordings is practiced in different countries, though the trajectories and rationale for arriving at this framework may differ. Developing countries often introduce measures to protect "infant" industries, but policy persistence can make subsequent changes hard. In 2010, the Copyright Board of India passed an order prescribing 2% of net advertising revenues to be paid by radio stations as compulsory license fees to copyright owners, citing the infancy of the private radio industry and the lack of access to music in India. Since the original order, the private radio industry has matured in size, coverage and listenership. Access to music today is facilitated through a far-reaching radio network, as well as widespread mobile and internet usage. The original order will be reviewed in September 2020. Given the maturation of the private radio industry over the past decade, this paper recommends India transitioning to the perspective considered for countries with mature radio industries. But how can the regulator determine the fair price of music closest to that found in a competitive market? Several strategies demonstrated in the literature can be used to establish a baseline valuation, following which adjustments can be made to account for any spillovers between the two industries.

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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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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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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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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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Exploring a Better Design of Copyright Law

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 14(2), 55-80, 2017

Shinya Kinukawa

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This study proposes a simulation model aimed at exploring how copyright law should be designed; that is, a desirable combination of copyright length and breadth. The model incorporates the specific properties of creative industries but is hard to deal with analytically because of its dynamic characteristics. Changes in social welfare under different copyright designs are thus examined by using numerical simulation. The simulation results reveal that a short and narrow copyright is the best, whereas a long and broad copyright is the worst. Moreover, in the long run, a long copyright can reduce social welfare even if the breadth is narrow.

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