The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Efficiency Considerations in Copyright Protection

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 11-27, 2004

Marcel Boyer


Abstract

Many countries are revisiting their Copyright law in the light of new communication and information technologies, which make possible the generalized digitization of copyrighted material and in so doing hallenge the protection and enforcement of copyrights. As the laws are modified to adapt to this new environment, the foundations of copyright have been questioned. I claim here that the affirmation and protection of a strong and transparent copyright framework is a second best efficient institutional arrangement to foster cultural development and diversity and promote the emergence of new market-like institutions reducing the costs of transactions between creators and users.

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Guest Editors' Foreword

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1-3, 2004

Francesco Silva and Giovanni Battista Ramello


Abstract

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.

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The Elusive Symbiosis: The Impact of Radio on the Record Industry

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 93-118, 2004

Stan J. Liebowitz


Abstract

Unlike television broadcasters, who must negotiate with the copyright owners before they can broadcast movies, radio broadcasters need not negotiate with the copyright holders for the sound recordings broadcast on radio. In the United States radio broadcasters have no obligations whatsoever to the copyright owners of the sound recordings (although they do have obligations to the copyright holders of the music contained in the sound recording). The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that radio broadcasters have argued, and it is generally accepted, that radio play benefits record sales and thus there is no need for radio broadcasters to purchase the rights to broadcast the sound recording. This impact of radio play on record sales is commonly referred to as a "symbiotic" relationship between these two industries. Yet there appears to be no systematic examination of this relationship. In this paper I present evidence indicating that radio play does not benefit overall record sales. There are obvious implications for copyright. I also examine, by way of comparison, television's negative impact on the movie industry.

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The Socially Desirable Size of Copyright Fees

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 83-92, 2004

William J. Baumol


Abstract

Licensing of copyrighted material can contribute to welfare. But what fee is socially desirable fee? The owner's marginal cost of licensing is often near zero, but P = MC = 0 is arguably neither equitable nor an efficient incentive for further creative activity. Here two fee-setting approaches are described, assuming copyright rules are pre-established and determine the holder's earnings, absent licensing. One approach is Ramsey pricing, theoretically second best and able to preserve the copyholder's earnings. The second is 'parity pricing', as derived in the price-regulation literature, which can ensure effective free entry into commercial use of the licensed material.

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A Comment: Number-Crunching is Not Just a Neutral Activity

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 79-82, 2004

Ruth Towse


Abstract

Many of the concerns expressed here were brought up in WIPO meetings in which I took part. Excellent work has been done on the preparation of the WIPO Handbook and by the various researchers in the classification of data and of solving measurement problems. They are a testimony to the power of rigorous economic thinking and professionalism.

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A Comment: The 'Copyright Factors'

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 71-78, 2004

Richard Watt


Abstract

In this paper, I have suggested the possibility of a simple calculation that returns a lower bound on the total contribution of copyright to GDP, once the groupings between the core, and unrelated activities has been made, but independently of the exact weights that should be assigned to the activities that are not in either of these two groups (i.e. those that remain in the related group). On the other hand, in order to do this it was necessary to take a particular definition of exactly what particular activities should be included in the related group (activities that, without having a copyright factor of 1, are on average at least as dependent upon copyright as is the economy as a whole). Thus, with a relatively low level of effort, one can get what appears to be quite an accurate, but still only intended as a rough estimate, answer to the question of exactly what is the total contribution of copyright to GDP.

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The Economic Contribution of the Copyright-Based Sector in the Netherlands

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 65-69, 2004

Jules Theeuwes


Abstract

It is hard if not impossible to quantify all the economic effects of press and publishing, arts, design, software and all other copyright-based sectors. Copyright sectors first of all produce value added and generate income; they create employment and contribute to the balance of payments. But the products and services have much wider implications and positive external effects on the economy than can be measured by adding up value added produced and employment generated. It is often tried to capture those more far reaching effects in general terms such as the 'knowledge economy' filled with 'creative workers' (see, for instance Florida, 2002). There is certainly truth in the general perception that creativity, which is the stuff, materialized in the goods and services produced by the copyright-based industry, can change the economy and have an influence on the well being of everybody. But it is impossible to capture this perception in hard numbers. Quite well doable however is to capture the measurable parts of the economic contribution in numbers. What I present in below is a measurement of value added and employment of the copyright-based industry in the Netherlands over the past decades. I will also briefly present numbers on the contribution of the copyright-based sector on imports and exports.

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The WIPO Guide on Surveying the Economic Contribution of the Copyright Industries

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 5-15, 2004

Dimiter Gantchev


Abstract

In July of 2002, the World Intellectual Property Organisation organised a working group of economists to study the methodologies that are appropriate when attempts are made to measure the economic contribution of copyright to a national economy, with the final objective being to produce a guide-book that will enable future studies to be made, all within a common methodological framework. Dimiter Gantchev, a consultant with WIPO, was encharged with the task of writing the resulting Guide-book.

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Some Challenges for Copyright-Related Quantification

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 41-50, 2004

Jeremy Thorpe


Abstract

Drawing on personal experience, this note outlines a number of the methodological challenges that exist when trying to provide some quantification of the economic impacts and contributions related to copyright law and policy (See The Allen Consulting Group, 2003a, The Allen Consulting Group,2001, and The Allen Consulting Group, 2003b).

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Issues in Assessment of the Economic Impact of Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 27-40, 2004

Robert Picard and Timo Toivonen


Abstract

This article explores methods and issues in measuring the contributions of copyright industries to national economies. It reveals the importance of copyright value creation, identifies copyright industries and activities that make economic contributions, discusses problems of measurement, compares methods used and reveals difficulties in comparability of existing research, and provides suggestions for improving and undertaking future research.

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In Search of a Methodology to Assess the Copyright Industries in Developing Countries: The Experience of Mercosur and Chile

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2004

Antonio M. Buainain


Abstract

The object of this paper is to present the methodology and key findings of a study entitled The Economic Importance of the Industries & Activities Protected by Copyright or Related Intellectual Property Rights in the Mercosur Countries Plus Chile, which may be useful as a basis for similar research in other developing countries. It should be noted that this is not an academic study designed to investigate hypotheses on the dynamics and role of the copyright industries or the role of intellectual property and related rights in the formation and evolution of the copyright industries. The purpose of the study is more modest. Its authors set out to describe the copyright industries in general terms and measure their importance in income formation, job creation and trade in the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) plus Chile. The study was commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Mercosur countries plus Chile, which were interested in assessing the economic importance of the copyright industries in those countries.

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Book Review: The Economics of Copyright: Developments in Research and Analysis, by W. J. Gordon and R. Watt (Eds.)

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 173-175, 2004

Michael J. Rushton


Abstract

The ten papers in this book were first presented at the SERCI annual congress in Madrid in 2002. In her introduction to the volume, co-editor Wendy Gordon notes that the technology that enables us to preserve and make reproductions of creative works changes the entire cultural landscape, as it provides authors with a means of earning income from the general public as consumers, and not just from patronage appointments. This shift in the source of income will change the kind of works that are created. Importantly, "it was to harness the extra value enabled by technology that copyright was invented" (p. xviii). It is therefore appropriate that much of this valuable volume of new research on the economics of copyright is concerned with the response of copyright policy and market contractual arrangements to changing technology.

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The Measurement of Copyright Industries: The US Experience

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 17-25, 2004

Steve Siwek


Abstract

This paper outlines the experiences of the economist who elaborated the studies on the economic importance of copyright for the US economy.

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The Past and the Future of the Economics of Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 151-171, 2004

Richard Watt


Abstract

The economics of copyright as such has certainly come of age. About 70 years has passed since the very first time that economists gave serious thought to the copyright system, although it has been only during the last 20 years that the literature has flourished. In this paper an overview of the general topic of the economics of copyright is given, and the areas that have already be touched upon are discussed. Then, a speculative answer is attempted to the question of what the near future will hold.

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When Should the Bell Toll? The Economics of New Zealand's Debate on Indirect Liability for Internet Copyright Infringement

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 119-149, 2004

Alan E. Woodfield


Abstract

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.

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