The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Copyright Levies as an Alternative Compensation Method for Recording Artists and Technological Development

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 25-39, 2005

Ville Oksanen and Mikko Valimaki


Abstract

The idea of alternative compensation methods for recording artists has gained increasing popularity as Internet copying has started to seriously threaten record sales. We start this article by looking at the general theory on alternatives to copyright royalties and show that recording artist income is in practise not dependent on record sales. Then we move forward and map the features of the current alternative proposals and construct yet another iteration of a levy-based compensation method. As an example, we analyze what our model would imply for Finland. In the end we reflect on the idea of a levy-based compensation method to the current predictions of technical advances in communication networks and note that the traditional copyright royalty model is seriously threatened by tremendous personal copying covering practically all the music ever created. We conclude this article by discussing what this will mean for the alternative compensation proposals and the music industry in general.

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Intellectual Property: How the Right to Keep it to Yourself Can Facilitate Dissemination

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 17-23, 2005

William J. Baumol


Abstract

The fundamental conflict in the goals of intellectual property (IP) policy is the apparent incompatibility of protection of the creator and ease of dissemination. Copyrights and patents seem to favor the first goal and conflict with the second, but patents have actually helped to resolve the conflict by transforming the IP into a tradable commodity. As a result, many patent proprietors actively promote use of their IP by others, even direct competitors. Patent licensing is a major revenue source for many firms. Patent pools institutionalize remunerative sharing of IP. Even from their medieval beginnings, patents were used to encourage dissemination and they continue to serve that purpose directly via disclosure requirements. So, perhaps with some redesign and innovative usage, copyrights can help to reconcile the two apparently conflicting goals - provision of incentives for both creative activity and widespread use of its products.

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OSS Production and Licensing Strategies of Software Firms

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 111-125, 2005

Heli A. Koski


Abstract

This study sheds light on the relatively recently emerged new business models employing open source activities in the software industry. We analyze data from 73 Finnish OSS companies' product type (i.e. proprietary vs. OSS product) and license type (i.e. the copyleft vs. non-copyleft licenses)choices. Our data indicate that firm ownership structure has a major influence on software firms' business strategies. Family owned firms tend to rely on the traditional proprietary software in their product selection, whereas diffusely held companies are more likely to supply OSS products. We also find that more service oriented firms are likely to offer more complementary products and further supply their products more often under the OS licenses. Moreover, the market trends concerning a firm's software products affect the license type decisions of the software firms. Consistent with the international data on the dominance of the Apache server that is released under the non-copyleft license, we find that servers are more likely to be licensed under the non-copyleft license. Our estimation results further suggest that a more restrictive form of open source licenses, the copyleft license, is used more often in those companies that have participated in open source software development projects. This finding is consistent with earlier studies that have found that more than 70% of the OSS development projects employ the GPL copyleft license.

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Why Did Schumpeter Neglect Intellectual Property Rights?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 69-74, 2005

Mark Blaug


Abstract

Joseph Schumpeter is the father of evolutionary economics and the origin of notion that technical change is the key to capitalism as an engine of economic growth. His most famous book is Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) which develops the thesis that capitalism is always an evolutionary process of creative destruction. When this book was published fifty years ago, there was little solid scholarship on technical advance. Now there is a great deal, so much so that it would take a book to do justice to it. Nevertheless, Schumpeter's book correctly captures many of the stylised facts about technical progress revealed in recent research but, oddly enough, he never discussed, or even mentioned, intellectual property rights and this despite the fact that patent legislation was a prominent subject of debate in nineteenth century economics. This is a puzzle I hope to resolve in this paper.

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Economists' Topsy-Turvy View of Piracy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 5-17, 2005

Stan J. Liebowitz


Abstract

Although it was once considered inevitable that unauthorized copying would harm copyright owners, it is now understood that this is not necessarily the case. The concept of indirect appropriability played an important role in shaping this newer understanding. In recent years, however, many economists seem to have taken the message from this new understanding too far, seeing gains to the copyright owners from unauthorized copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited. The current literature on this subject, which consists mainly of theoretical models, seems to be badly out of kilter. In this paper I attempt to explain some of the problems and try to provide the outlines of what I believe to be a more balanced and nuanced view of copying. It emphasizes the importance of examining various institutional and behavioral details of individual markets, which are often overlooked by researchers.

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Intellectual Property and the Efficient Allocation of Social Surplus from Creation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 45-67, 2005

Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine


Abstract

In the modern theory of innovation, monopoly plays a crucial role both as a cause and an effect of creative economic activity. Innovative firms, it is argued, would have insufficient incentive to innovate should the prospect of monopoly power not be present. This theme of monopoly runs throughout the theory of growth, international trade, and industrial organization. We argue that monopoly is neither needed for, nor a necessary consequence of innovation. In particular, intellectual property is not necessary for, and may hurt more than help, innovation and growth. We show that, in most circumstances, competitive rents allow creative individuals to appropriate a large enough share of the social surplus generated by their innovations to compensate for their opportunity cost. We also show that, as the number of pre-existing and IP protected ideas needed for an innovation increases, the equilibrium outcome under the IP regime is one of decreasing probability of innovation, while this is not the case without IP. Finally, we provide various examples of how competitive markets for innovative products would work in the absence of IP and critically discuss a number of common fallacies in the previous literature.

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Creative Pricing in Markets for Intellectual Property

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 39-44, 2005

William R Johnson


Abstract

Technological changes over the past two decades have made it easier to distribute and to copy intellectual property. Creators and owners of intellectual property have responded to these changes with a variety of creative pricing strategies. The paper reviews some of these pricing innovations. Two broad categories of innovations are explored: those that facilitate price discrimination and those that exploit complementarities between different types of creative works.

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The Limits of Indirect Appropriability in Markets for Copiable Goods

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 19-37, 2005

Justin P. Johnson and Michael Waldman


Abstract

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.

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Indirect Appropriability 20 Years on

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1-4, 2005

Richard Watt


Abstract

20 years ago, Stan Liebowitz's famous paper on indirect appropriability was published in the Journal of Political Economy. At the time, it would surely have been impossible to predict the impact that the paper, together with two or three others published in the same journal at around the same time, would have on the fledgling area of economics that was being re-born under the label of "the economics of copyright."

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Intellectual Property Rights and Cultural Heritage: The Case of Non-Cumulative and Non-Degenerative Creation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 97-117, 2004

Veronique Chossat and Christian Barrere


Abstract

This paper studies the case of cultural and creative goods that onstitute both private and common heritage assets and analyses the difficulties involved in protecting them by the means of IPRs. The specificities of non-cumulative and non-degenerative creative heritage assets prevent any universal model of protection and thus the building of a market of IPRs. The standard model of property rights is partially irrelevant depending on the specificities of cultural heritage assets. So strategic behaviours concerning the uses of cultural heritage assets can arise. Two creative industries are studied: Haute Couture and French Grande Cuisine.

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Should We Put Them in Jail? Copyright Infringement, Penalties and Consumer Behaviour: Insights from Experimental Data

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 81-95, 2004

Anna Maffioletti and Giovanni Battista Ramello


Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to deepen the knowledge of consumer behaviour in information goods markets, taking as a reference the sound recording market. In particular, its aim is twofold: on the one hand it attempts to get new insights on consumers paying special attention to their willingness to pay and to purchasing behaviour; on the other hand it wants to find out whether the recently adopted increase in legal measures against consumers by industries can have positive effects on lowering copyright infringement and raising legal demand. Using experimental methods, we elicited individual preferences in legal and burned CDs. We used hypothetical as well as real choices. Our experimental results suggest that lawsuits can effectively lower the rate of copying because they raise the probability of being caught by consumers and thus punished. However, they do not necessarily raise legal sales since the measured consumer willingness to pay is generally lower than the market price for legal products. Consequently, increased copyright enforcement may only lead to demand withholding.

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The Effect of Internet Piracy on Music Sales: Cross-Section Evidence

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 71-79, 2004

Martin Peitz and Patrick Waelbroeck


Abstract

We use a 1998-2002 cross-section dataset to analyze the claim of losses due to internet piracy made by the record industry. The results suggest that internet piracy played a significant role in the decline in music sales during the early days of file-sharing networks.

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P2P and Piracy: Challenging the Cultural Industries' Financing System

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 55-69, 2004

Joelle Farchy


Abstract

Digital technology makes sophisticated means available to the general public for copying works with an equal level of quality to the originals and at increasingly lower prices. Unrestricted copying deprives producers and creators of a share of their potential earnings on the sale of originals. The whole of the traditional system for financing cultural creation could be at risk. There are three mainstays to the conventional financing system: the production of private goods, direct appropriability of revenues, temporary monopoly of exclusive rights. Each one has been called into question by P2P. Content has properties that are growing ever more similar to public goods, raising the question of whether public financing might be possible. Direct appropriability in customary markets is becoming ever more difficult, raising the question of whether new forms of appropriability might be possible, both direct and indirect. Exclusive rights are becoming increasingly ever harder to enforce, raising the question of other possible institutional solutions. To date, the solutions geared to tackling these issues have been largely defensive, and aimed at maintaining the old system's core characteristics (direct appropriability and exclusive rights) through DRM. However, a brief foray into economics literature can reveal some original alternatives solutions even if each one has its advantages and its drawbacks.

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The End of Copyright History?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 5-10, 2004

Paul A. David


Abstract

The history of the copyright system appears to be approaching an end. A pressing question now is whether or not the particular manner of its passing will be one that proves seriously destructive for cultural vitality and the advancement of knowledge.

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Sunk Costs, Free-Riding Justifications, and Compulsory Licensing of Interfaces

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 29-53, 2004

Net Le


Abstract

This paper addresses two popular arguments against a compulsory license of software interface, using risk analysis methodology. These concerns are the non-recovery of sunk costs and the threats posed by free riders. My argument is that while both concerns are legitimate, they are remediable. The purpose of the law is not to allow the incumbent to recover its 'sunk costs', but to give sufficient incentives for it to innovate. These two incentives are the monetary incentives (finding fair access fees and stimulating cooperation with the entrants after the license) and the time incentive (finding a period during which refusal to license is acceptable). With respect to the fair amount of access fees, it is better to provide a mechanism so that the licensor and the licensee can negotiate the fees themselves, rather than to impose a strict method of fee calculation. If the monetary incentives alone are sufficient to generate motivation for innovation, the time incentive should not be used.

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