The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 60-91, 2014
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 19-37, 2005
Justin P. Johnson and Michael Waldman
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1-3, 2004
Francesco Silva and Giovanni Battista Ramello
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 119-149, 2004
Alan E. Woodfield
This article evaluates proposed changes to New Zealand's copyright legislation in respect of potential secondary liability for copyright infringement by Internet service providers. Minor changes were envisaged in order to align the legislation with new international standards, with limitation of ISP liability along the lines of the UK Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 recommended. Both zero liability and strict liability for web-hosting ISPs are correctly rejected, but the proposed uniform regulatory approach provides limited incentives for ISP monitoring effort and while proposed knowledge-based standards should largely prevent excessive permanent removal of legitimate material, the constructive knowledge test may be insufficient to encourage the removal of many infringing items. The counter-notification procedure may not prevent liability-conscious ISPs from removing excessive legitimate material on a temporary basis, and more radical solutions involving ISP purchase of their subscribers' posted material or compulsory ISP purchase of copyrights did not feature. The design of optimal copyright law is fraught with difficulties, however, and the Ministry's consultative processes and careful deliberations have done much to maintain a reasonable balance between the conflicting interests concerned.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, vol. 17(2); 23-52
This paper discusses the regulations which limit the monopolistic and monopsonistic power of the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) in the context of the broader legal framework for the collective management of music copyright in China. The paper identifies "inadequate regulation" as a major cause of the misuse of such market power by the MCSC. Using a comparative approach, the paper analyses the regulatory regime that addresses the abuse of the market power of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the two oldest performing rights organisations (PROs) in the United States. Drawing lessons from the United States experience, this paper challenges the notion that establishing more musical collective management organisations (CMOs) in China would decrease the monopolistic and/or monopsonistic power of the MCSC. While the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law cannot be applied to regulate the market power of the MCSC, this paper advocates for improving the current Regulations on Copyright Collective Administration (RCCA) as an alternative option for preventing the misuse of power by the MCSC.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 31-44, 2010
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 13-33, 2009
Michael Y. Yuan
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1, 45-65, 2010
Frank Mueller-Langer and Richard Watt
In a recent paper, Prof. Steven Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) has argued strongly in favor of eliminating copyright from academic works. Based upon solid economic arguments, Shavell analyses the pros and cons of removal of copyright and in its place to have a pure open access system, in which authors (or more likely their employers) would provide the funds that keep journals in business. In this paper we explore some of the arguments in Shavell’s paper, above all the way in which the distribution of the sources of journal revenue would be altered, and the feasible effects upon the quality of journal content. We propose a slight modification to a pure open access system which may provide for the best of both the copyright and open access worlds.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2021, 18, 56-80
This article traces the origins and evolution of the paying public domain (or domaine public payant), from its foundations in 19th century France, particularly as exposed in two famous speeches delivered by Victor Hugo, to its current versions in force in a handful of Latin American and African countries. We analyse the economic aspects of the copyright-public domain relationship. We emphasise the contrasts between original and contemporary versions of the paying public domain and provide a hypothesis to explain its mutation and subsistence.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 13-29, 2009
Olivier Bomsel and Heritiana Ranaivoson
The digitization of copyrighted goods and the dematerialization of their distribution over the Internet have caused a weakening of copyright, a key institution of the creative industries. One reason is that, during the broadband roll-out, copyright enforcement costs have become superior to the estimated benefits of copyright. This paper analyses the causes of this situation and suggests how a graduated response to infringers can decrease copyright enforcement costs.
The paper starts with a review of the economic literature on copyright that focuses on its industrial aspects. It then analyses how, all along the distribution vertical chain, the consumer's impunity provides incentives to free ride on copyright, which rapidly increases copyright enforcement costs. It finally depicts the graduated response mechanism and the voluntary agreement that initiated this system in France. In conclusion, the increase in the cost of free-riding for the final consumer should lead to a decrease in copyright enforcement costs and to higher returns in the creative industries.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2021, 18, 1-25
Jacob B. Ebin and David Reitman
Advances in technology over the last two decades have led to significant changes in the way that music is consumed, with music streaming services now being the dominant means through which people listen to music and the primary means through which music copyright own- ers monetize their intellectual property. The way that music rights are licensed by these digital streaming services, however, has not meaningfully changed. Blanket or collective licensing is still the norm and the marketplace is almost entirely devoid of any actual price competition between rightsholders to have their music performed. But some of the same technological advancements that have allowed digital streaming to emerge also can be used to transform the way that music is licensed — moving towards a more competitive alternative. In this paper we review the economic tradeoffs that have provided the primary justifications for the current blanket licensing systems, and then describe the institutions and regulatory environment that have developed to implement those systems in the U.S. That sets the stage to describe an alternative competitive marketplace taking advantage of streaming technology and data, which we do in our companion paper, Ebin and Reitman (forthcoming). Such a marketplace, if implemented appropriately, would allow for individual rightsholders to set their own prices subject to the forces of competition, while still maintaining many of the transactions costs efficiencies associated with blanket licensing.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 61-82, 2009
Matthew J. Baker and Brendan Michael Cunningham
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2022, vol. 19, pp. 76-113
Jacob B. Ebin and David Reitman
Despite significant changes over the last two decades in the way people listen to music and the primary means through which music copyright owners monetize their intellectual property, blanket or collective licensing remains the norm. The music licensing marketplace continues to have almost no actual price competition between rightsholders to have their music performed. But some of the same technological advancements that led to the changes in the way that people listen to music can also be used to transform the way that music is licensed - moving towards a more competitive alternative. In this paper we provide a framework for a marketplace that, if implemented appropriately, would allow for individual rightsholders to set their own prices subject to the forces of competition, all while still maintaining many of the transactions costs efficiencies associated with blanket licensing. Critical to the emergence of such a marketplace is a comprehensive database of all sound recordings and the associated musical works with individual prices set by the individual rightsholders for the rights necessary to use their music. With such a database in place, rightsholders could set their own prices knowing that music services will take those prices into consideration when creating playlists, thereby extending competition to pricing and freeing the licensing market from the need for price regulation.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 27-54, 2013
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2022, vol. 19, pp. 1-51
After streaming, what should copyright economics look like? The standard model of copyright economics used by courts and other policy makers - the "protect what would otherwise be a public good from copyists" model - is not general enough. It is particularly poorly suited for the era of internet streaming, because it assumes that the producers of creative works are vertically integrated with the utlimate retailers of those works. In this paper I argue for a new, rough-and-ready framework for use in formulating copyright policy. Rather than assuming a vertically integrated producerâ€”retailer, my proposed model disaggregates the producer and the retailer, which I refer to more generally as an intermediary. One central feature of the streaming era is the growth and resulting bargaining power of technological intermediaries, including the large internet platforms and various popular streaming services. My proposed model of copyright economics allows for variation in the bargaining power of intermediaries, rather than implicitly assuming their power away. Making this shift in our mental model - our metaphor - for how copyright works changes the way we think about copyright law's economic functions. It also suggests the need to refocus copyright policy on the important dynamics between producers and intermediaries.Click to read more.