The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 45-70, 2008
The quest for interoperability of interactive TV has been a major concern of the EU Institutions. Its policy foundations were built on the enabling role of open standards, whose peculiar standardization process should guarantee affordable and widespread intellectual property rights. After having received considerable public support and financial funds, the interactive TV roll-out appears disappointing, and the diffusion of the main concerned standard, the multimedia home platform, stagnates. We conduct a comprehensive analysis of the main market facts and passages of interactive TV policy, to derive a multifaceted assessment of its technological, economic and institutional drivers. Several important issues stand out. Besides the inner complexity of the policy, a few normative inconsistencies and conflicting aims adversely impacted its feasibility. Several logical ambiguities also dampened the correct choice of instruments. In particular, the existing literature clarifies two main points: open standards cannot be uncritically assimilated to open source software, and the role of open standards along the broadcasting value chain is largely unexplored. Consequently, their effects here might differ from those experienced in traditional information and communication technologies markets. Finally, a certain evidence of regulatory capture of the EU policy-maker emerges.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 37-43, 2008
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 3-18, 2008
Frederic M. Scherer
This paper, written for a conference of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues, explores the history of copyright protection for musical compositions. The first modern copyright law did not cover musical works. The role of Johann Christian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johann Neopmuk Hummel in securing legal changes is traced. How Giuseppe Verdi exploited the new copyright law in Northern Italy is analyzed. The paper argues that Verdi, enriched by copyright protection, reduced his compositional effort along a backward-bending supply curve. However, his good fortune may have had a demonstration effect inducing other talented individuals to become composers. An attempt to determine the impact of legal changes on entry into composing is inconclusive. The paper shows, however, that a golden age of musical composition nevertheless occurred in nations that lacked copyright protection for musical works.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, 19-35, 2008
Fabrice Rochelandet and Tushar K Nandi
In this paper, we examine the determinants of sharing behaviour by envisaging two types of behaviour, namely contribution against free riding. In doing so, we evaluate the theoretical predictions about reciprocity and altruism in the presence of non-rival goods and anonymity. We use a probit model and primary data from a survey that collects information about P2P sharing behaviour of more than 2000 individuals. Our econometric results suggest that the motivations for contributing are poorly determined by rational self-interested behaviour. We then envisage policy implications in terms of copyright enforcement and business.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 75-87, 2008
Ana Maria Tetrel
In the law and economics literature of copyright, the economic function of collecting societies has been principally treated as a way to diminish transaction costs. However, another possible function, the transfer of risk as a function of collective administration has been, relatively, ignored. Through risk analysis, an author will be able to determine which method of administration of protected rights is most beneficial to him. Due to information asymmetries, authors and users bear a number of risks. These risks can be transferred to a collecting society which is in a better position to bear them more efficiently and to better administer the protected rights.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 55-74, 2008
Giovanni Battista Ramello and Francesco Silva
The aim of this work is to analyse the evolution of pay-TV as an example of the dynamics that characterise the media sector and in which copyright has played a pivotal role. In one simplified representation, we can identify two crucial levels on which the market is shaped: that of content, governed by copyright, and that of distribution. Control over each of these levels offers, in different ways, leverage for orienting the market, and has thus been an object of the strategies of firms. On the whole we can say that the innovation path characterising media markets extends beyond the purely technological sphere to also embrace the market as an "organisational technology" for production and exchange. Hence, the competitive process, so important for defining the market configurations, must be discussed from an intertemporal perspective in which technological choices, the regulatory framework and control of copyrights can be viewed as both exogenous and strategic variables manipulated by firms to obtain profits.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 23-53, 2008
Paul A. David and Jared Rubin
One manifestation of the trend towards the strengthening of copyright protection that has been noticeable during the past two decades is the secular extension of the potential duration during which access to copyrightable materials remains legally restricted. Those restrictions carry clear implications for the current and prospective costs to readers seeking "on-line" availability of the affected content in digital form, via the Internet. This paper undertakes to quantify one aspect of these developments by providing readily understandable measures of the restrictive consequences of the successive modifications that were made in U.S. copyright laws during the second half of the twentieth century. Specifically, we present estimates of the past, present and future number of copyrighted books belonging to different publication-date "cohorts" whose entry into the public domain (and consequent accessibility in scanned on-line form) will thereby have been postponed. In some instances these deferrals of access due to legislative extensions of the duration of copyright protection are found to reach surprisingly far into the future, and to arise from the effects of interactions among the successive changes in the law that generally have gone unnoticed.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1-22, 2008
Ruth Towse, Christian Handke and Paul Stepan
This article is a survey of publications by economists writing on copyright law. It begins with a general overview of how economists analyse these questions; the distinction is made between the economics of copying and the economic aspects of copyright law as analysed in law and economics. It then continues with sections on research on the effects of copying and downloading and the effects of unauthorised use ('piracy') and ends with an overall evaluation of the economics of copyright in the light of recent technological changes. Economists have always been, and still are, somewhat sceptical about copyright and question what alternatives there are to it. On balance, most accept the role of copyright law in the creative industries while urging caution about its becoming too strong. And although European authors' rights are different in legal terms from the Anglo-American copyright, the economic analysis of these laws is essentially the same.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 65-97, 2007
Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt
This article investigates recent developments in copyright, proceeding from a participation-centred comparative institutional approach (Komesar, 1994). Following institutional theory, the approach implies conceiving of the market, the political process (legislatures and administrative agencies) and the courts as alternative decision-making processes in the area of copyright law and policy. It emphasises the importance of institutional choice, based on careful comparison of the modalities for participation of different interests in these processes.
Novel digital and information technologies influence the conditions for participation in copyright decision-making at all levels and unsettle previously established institutional equilibriums. In the wake of the Infosoc Directive, a dynamic process of institutional adjustment seems to be unfolding in the Member States of the European Union whereby a variety of private, public and mixed institutional schemes for interpretation and enforcement of the new digital copyright are emerging, seeking to reconcile the interests of a variety of old and new stakeholders. This dynamism is interpreted as a search for appropriate decision-making institution to mitigate the consequences of an expansive legislative copyright policy as materialized in the Infosoc Directive and to re-establish a balance of rights and obligations. It is argued that the institutional design of these schemes and the modalities for actor participation will be crucial for their sustainable success and seem therefore to deserve more careful scrutiny. At the same time, the conservative force of institutional legacies is emphasized as a factor deterring institutional innovation.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 51-64, 2007
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 5-28, 2007
Richard G. Lipsey
Over the last decade, the research interests of myself and my co-authors have concerned economic growth, technological change and general purpose technologies - pervasive technologies that transform our whole society. Our many publications culminated in Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long Term Economic Growth by Richard Lipsey, Kenneth Carlaw and Cliff Bekar (hereafter LCB). This work has only incidentally raised issues concerning intellectual property rights (IRPs). So what I will cover in this paper is first a brief survey of some of the historical parts of LCB. Then, I give some general discussion of economic policy with emphasis on second best issues and, finally, some of the IPR issues that arose incidentally in our work.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 29-50, 2007
Paul Audley and Marcel Boyer
Our objective in this paper is to develop a methodology to infer from the behaviour and choices of broadcasters the "competitive" value they attach to the use of music, more precisely sound recordings, and to derive from such an inferred value the proper "competitive" copyright payments to be made to authors, composers, performers, and makers of sound recordings. We illustrate the methodology by applying it to Canadian data. The background is provided by the statement of case and supporting proof presented in the 2004 proceedings before the Copyright Board of Canada on the commercial radio tariff. The results called for a significant increase in copyright payments by Canada's commercial radio industry: the proper competitive copyright payments should be substantially more than double what the industry was paying at the time of the hearings.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1-3, 2007
Christian W. Handke
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.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 87-96, 2007
Koji Domon and Kiyoshi Nakamura
At present, Vietnam is regarded as the most notorious country regarding copyright infringement. China, joining WTO in 2001, has since implemented strict copyright measures. Even though Vietnam has laws covering intellectual property rights, enforcement is almost non-existent. We investigated how unauthorized P2P file-sharing affects copyright infringement in Vietnam. We assumed, before visiting Vietnam, that P2P file-sharing was more popular than pirated CDs and DVDs. However, few people there knew of its existence. Even when they did, they were unwilling to use it. Another astonishing fact was how pirated CDs play a role in promoting singers who relied on stage performances. Singers were not eager to support copyright enforcement. In this paper we consider these situations and explain how such behavior is commonplace in Vietnam.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 63-86, 2007
Much literature has been devoted to exploring the protection of computer programs. The decreasing effectiveness of copyright and patents has been extensively examined and alternative forms of protection, both physical and market-based, have been laid out. A large proportion of writings is dedicated to describing the significant network externalities that exist in the software market, and the effect that these have on the optimal level of protection. A large number of surveys have been undertaken to analyse the characteristics of software pirates and their incentives to pirate. This paper attempts to provide an overview of this literature.Click to read more.