The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

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


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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Cartel Sustainability and Piracy in a Vertically Differentiated Oligopoly

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(1), 9-31, 2014

Iacopo Grassi


Abstract

In recent years economic literature has deeply analyzed piracy and copyright violation. Nevertheless most of the contributions focus on the study of digital markets and monopoly. In this paper we concentrate on the effect the entry of a pirate may have in a vertically differentiated duopoly where originally two firms compete producing a high quality and a low quality good. We show that, under general conditions payoffs of firms might increase with piracy, since piracy may support collusion between the two firms producing the original goods and the collusive profits of the firms in presence of piracy may be bigger than the profits of Nash without piracy. This result may explain the reason why in some markets, like the fashion market, where the producers of the original brands basically control the supply chain of the sector, piracy and production of high quality fakes is huge.

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The Economic Effects of Digitization on the Administration of Musical Copyrights

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 55-67, 2013

Ruth Towse


Abstract

Digitization has had a profound effect on the management of musical copyrights in terms of data requirements and has vastly increased the volume of transactions: both impacts have raised net costs of administration to collecting societies. This paper explores these points using information provided by PRS for Music, the UK's collecting society managing musical rights and considers them in the wider context of moves on the political front to increase competition in rights management as well as to promote multi-territorial licensing within the EU. An important question for economists is whether the natural monopoly argument for single national collective rights management using blanket licensing still holds up with digitization of music and management of musical rights. This paper suggests that collaborative concentration may be preferable to competition.

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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


Abstract

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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Piracy of Intellectual Property: Past, Present, and Future

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(2), 1-26, 2013

Ian Novos and Michael Waldman


Abstract

The last few decades have seen enormous growth in piracy of copyrighted goods and, in particular, an enormous growth in piracy of creative works that employ a digital format. In this paper we discuss classic theory related to the piracy issue, provide a brief history of the growth of piracy over the last few decades, and then discuss issues concerning the present situation. We conclude with speculation concerning the future of piracy, where one of our main points is that, at least for the developed world, there are important reasons for believing that piracy is likely to continue to grow.

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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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The Economics of Copyright Levies on Hardware

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 20-35, 2013

Patrick Legros and Victor A. Ginsburgh


Abstract

The fight against illegal music downloading has taken many forms. Beside legal prosecution (Hadopi in France, for example), many countries have chosen to tax blank tapes and CDs, both to reduce their use for illegal copying, but also to redistribute the proceeds to content providers. This has become less effective, since now illegal copying is stored on hardware devices, such as smartphones, computers, MP3 players, and external hard disks. We provide an economic analysis of the effects of copyright levies on hardware used to access original content. A first effect is to decrease the consumption of both illegal and legal content. We show that in a static model, content providers can hardly be compensated, and therefore are made worse off by the levy. We also consider a dynamic model where current sales contribute to the reputation of the content provider, and to his future revenues. A levy on hardware tends to penalise 'young' content providers in terms of reputation acquisition.

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Dissemination Must Serve Authors: How the U.S. Supreme Court Erred

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 10(1), 1-19, 2013

Wendy J. Gordon


Abstract

The US Congress has enacted expansions of copyright which arguably impose high social costs and generate little incentives for authorial creativity. When the two most expansive statutes were challenged as unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court rebuffed the challenges, partly on the supposed ground that copyright law could legitimately seek to promote non-authorial interests; apparently, Congress could enact provisions aiming to support non-creative disseminative activities such as publishing, or restoring and distributing old film stock, even if authorial incentives were not served. Such an error might have arisen because of three phenomena (in economics, history, and law, respectively) that might easily be misunderstood but which, when unpacked, no longer lead plausibly to a stand-alone embrace of disseminator interests. The purpose of this article is to analyse and comment on this error from several relevant points of view.

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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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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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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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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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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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