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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Sound Earnings? The Income Structure of Swedish Composers 1990-2009

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 36-73, 2013

Staffan Albinsson


Abstract

Collective performing rights licensing agencies are private enterprises and their files are thus not public. Thus, the possibilities to carry out scientific research regarding the effects of performing right fees have been limited. This paper is based on new unique data provided by the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) which has provided data for a large share of Swedish composers of art music with mandates from them for this study as legal requisites. The point of departure for the analysis is the basic monetary incentive theory which holds that the prospect of revenues will result in more output. Another question is whether royalty income plays a substantial role in the total incomes of composers or not. Furthermore, three factors, which are generally considered to be influential when it comes to the size of composer incomes in Sweden, are also analysed: gender, level of education and choice of domicile. Female composers are found to earn substantially less than males. Whereas in most professions higher levels of education increase income this seems to be less important for composers. Finally, the expectation is that a composer living in the national capital, Stockholm, will earn more than others is not substantiated.

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Evidence of the Effect of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs in Canada

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 9(2), 55-78, 2012

George Barker


Abstract

This paper examines data on the effects of Internet peer-to peer (P2P) file sharing activities on music purchasing. The data was obtained from a survey commissioned by Industry Canada to "inform Industry Canada's policy development work" regarding copyright law reform in Canada. The paper focuses on an important survey question which has not yet been analysed. Analysis of survey responses suggests that P2P file-sharing is a substitute for legitimate music purchases and has strong negative effects on legitimate music purchases. This contradicts the results of earlier analysis of the data commissioned by Industry Canada first published on Industry Canada's website in 2007 (Andersen and Frenz, 2007), and then subsequently revised and republished as Andersen and Frenz (2010).

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More Music in Movies: What Box Office Data Reveals About the Availability of Public Domain Songs in Movies from 1968-2008

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 31-54, 2012, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 11-23

Paul J. Heald , Peibei Shi, Jeffrey Stoiber and Qingyao Zheng


Abstract

A previous empirical study suggested that as copyrighted songs transitioned into the public domain they were used just as frequently in movie soundtracks as when they were still legally protected.That study, however, did not account for the number people who viewedeach movie in the theater. Since the debate over copyright term extension centers on the continuing "availability" of works as they fall into the public domain, a better measure of the availability of songs in movies would account for the relative box office success of the movies in which the songs appear. The present study collects box office data for hundreds of movies from 1968-2008 in which appeared hundreds of songs and concludes that public domain songs were heard by just as many people in movie theaters before and after they fell into the public domain.

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Economics of Copyright Collecting Societies and Digital Rights: Is There a Case for a Centralised Digital Copyright Exchange?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012

Ruth Towse


Abstract

Copyright collecting societies have attracted economists' attention for over 30 years and the attention of government regulators for even longer. They have typically been accepted by economists and by courts of law as necessary for reducing transaction costs and enabling copyright to work. The advent of digitization has led to renewed interest in the topic and to the view that though new technologies offer the possibility of improved rights management, collecting societies are not responding sufficiently to these opportunities. That view was evident in recent enquiries into the role of copyright in the digital age in the UK, which proposed the formation of a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) that would promote online digital trade. This paper evaluates the case for the DCE in the light of what economists know about collective rights management.

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A Taxonomy of Empirical Research on Copyright - How Do We Inform Policy?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 47-92, 2012

Christian Handke


Abstract

This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system - and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.

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The Economics Fair Use/Dealing: Copyright Protection in a Fair and Efficient Way

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 3-46, 2012

Marcel Boyer


Abstract

The Canadian Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) includes several exceptions to the exclusive right of copyright holders. Among the most important are the provisions concerning "fair dealing", which state that the use of a copyright protected literary or artistic work for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, or news reporting does not constitute a violation of copyright. Our objective in this paper is to characterize the role and nature of this exception from the standpoint of contemporary economic theory and analysis and in the light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on this subject (CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339, 2004 SCC 13). We propose in the conclusion a market based approach to maximize the dissemination of works while avoiding unnecessary recourse to the fair dealing exception.

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The Efficiency of Droit De Suite: An Experimental Assessment

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 93-121, 2012

Maryam Dilmaghani and Jim Engle-Warnick


Abstract

Droit de suite entitles visual artists to a percentage share of the resale price every time their works are resold over a given time span. The legal systems of the world do not universally accept the concept of droit de suite, and its economic efficiency has been a matter of debate for a few decades. In this paper, we model a work of art as a lottery to investigate experimentally the impact of this right on the art market. We find evidence that a number of known behavioral biases in decisions under uncertainty affect a seller’s willingness to accept. In light of our results, we conclude that the interaction of these biases and droit de suite can reduce the number of transactions in the art market to a larger extent than previously suggested in the literature.

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Copyright in the Digital Age; Benefiting Users and Creators?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 55-64, 2011

Peter Jenner


Abstract

Copyright is supposed to establish a mechanism under which content users contribute to creators' income, thereby providing incentives for creators to create new and original content for end-users to consume. However, in the current digital environment one can suggest that this arrangement is breaking down. The necessary flow of content is not being achieved in such a manner as to provide a satisfactory flow of revenue back to the creators, or is it vice versa? It can also be argued that the copyright system is not providing enough revenue for distributors to provide the sort of services that users would like with the current pricing structures, use restrictions and rights complexity demanded by the major controllers of music copyrights. In this essay I consider the current state of affairs regarding the copyright system, and its effects for all participants along the value chain for protected content.

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What We Know, What We Don't Know, and What Policy-makers Would Like Us to Know About the Economics of Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 101-120, 2011

Ruth Towse


Abstract

There are many gaps between what economists know and what they don't know. This article reviews this situation in the light of what policy-makers say they want to know about the economic effects of copyright. The article sets out what I see as misunderstandings on the part of policy-makers as to what economics can offer in the way of evidence on copyright. The paper is based on my limited experience of advising and consulting as well as on reading calls for evidence in policy documents.

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Copyright, Evidence and Lobbynomics: The World after the UK's Hargreaves Review

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 65-100, 2011

Benjamin Mitra-Kahn


Abstract

This paper tries to convey the problems we government economists face in weighing up the evidence around copyright policy, and how the academic and grey literature plays a role in this. This is with particular reference to the recent review of the IP framework in the UK - the Hargreaves Review - and the reforms which are now being planned. The paper outlines the proposed changes and tries to raise the research questions which will need to be answered for Government to take these reforms forward. My primary aim in this paper is to emphasise that we are looking for help in gathering this evidence, and secondly to show that the institutions of Government can make it very hard for us civil servants to find all the relevant answers, as we often don't know who to ask, or have the time to ask. I try to illustrate this by going through one aspect of the evidence we believe we have, and look in some detail at a very influential piece of 'lobbynomics' on the cost of infringement. The purpose of this is to share the view from the other side of the policy debate, and to invite the reader inside the bubble that can be government policy making, all the while trying to get out of said bubble.

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Competition Policy, Patent Pools and Copyright Collectives

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 3-34, 2011

Nancy Gallini


Abstract

This paper analyzes and compares two types of cooperative agreements that combine Intellectual Property (IP): patent pools and copyright collectives. I evaluate antitrust policy in three environments in which owners of the intellectual property (IP): (1) are vertically integrated into the downstream (product) market; (2) face competition in the upstream (input) market and (3) own downstream products that do not require a license on the pooled IP but compete with products that do. Although patent pools and copyright collectives differ in purpose, membership size and market conditions, their efficiency implications are qualitatively similar in each of the three situations. Therefore, a uniform rather than IP-specific competition policy is appropriate for pools and collectives, thus lending economic support for the approach followed by antitrust authorities toward IP-related cooperative agreements.

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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


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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Revenue Sharing as Compensation for Copyright Holders

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, 51-97, 2011

Richard Watt


Abstract

Essential inputs are an important topic of debate for economics. One common essential input is intellectual property, in the form of either patents or copyrights, which the producers of goods and services for final consumption must necessarily purchase from the input supplier. The ensuing monopoly power of the input supplier leads in many cases to controversial outcomes, in which social inefficiencies can occur. In much of the literature on the economics of intellectual property, it is assumed that the right holder is remunerated either by a fixed payment or by a payment that amounts to an additional marginal cost to the user, or both. However, in some significant instances in the real-world, right holders are constrained to use (or may choose to use) a compensation scheme that involves revenue sharing. That is, the right holder takes as remuneration a part of the user's revenue. In essence, the remuneration is set as a tax on the user's revenue. This paper analysis such remuneration mechanisms, establishing and analysing the optimal tax rate, and also the Nash equilibrium tax rate that would emerge from a fair and unconstrained bargaining problem. The second option provides a rate that may be useful for regulatory authorities. The model is calibrated against a (hypothetical) scenario in which the copyright holders in music are paid a regulated share of the revenue of music radio stations, a topic that is presently at the fore-front of the economics of copyright pricing.

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The Google Book Search Settlement: A Law and Economics Analysis

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, 7-50, 2011

Frank Mueller-Langer and Marc Scheufen


Abstract

Beginning in December 2004 Google has pursued a new project to create a book search engine (Google Book Search). The project has released a storm of controversy around the globe. While the supporters of Google Book Search conceive the project as a first reasonable step towards unlimited access to knowledge in the information age, its opponents fear profound negative effects due to an erosion of copyright law.
Our law and economics analysis of the Book Search Project suggests that - from a copyright perspective - the proposed settlement may be beneficial to right holders, consumers, and Google. For instance, it may provide a solution to the still unsolved dilemma of orphan works. From a competition policy perspective, we stress the important aspect that Google's pricing algorithm for orphan and unclaimed works effectively replicates a competitive Nash-Bertrand market outcome under post-settlement, third-party oversight.

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Digital Technology, Price Discrimination, and Copyright Duration Extension

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 39-55, 2010

Michael Y. Yuan


Abstract

Many countries have yet to decide whether extend copyright duration. Technological changes were cited by a U.S. Senate report to support duration extension. This study adds to the assessment of the validity of the technological argument by simulating the effect on optimal copyright duration of increased price discrimination caused by digital technology. Simulation of a model of information product market indicates that increase of price discrimination on high-end market calls for shorter copyright duration; that on low-end market may support extension, if the discrimination benefits consumers, and otherwise work against it. It further suggests price discrimination on low-end market increases welfare and supply of original information products but that on the high-end market may either increase or decrease them.

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