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Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

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

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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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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

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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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Transactions Costs and Administered Markets: License Contracts for Music Performance Rights

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 61-74, 2006

Michael A. Einhorn

Downloads:  388


Abstract

Performance rights organizations (PROs) provide transactional efficiency for music users and copyright owners by negotiating contracts, collecting revenue, and paying royalties for the rights to publicly perform musical compositions, thereby replacing their need to deal individually with one another in bilateral licensing. Historically, performance rights for catalogued works have been made available to users through blanket licenses, which convey the rights to perform, or have performed on licensed premises, all registered works in the corresponding catalog of registered works. While blanket licenses may enhance transactional efficiency, the same licenses are sometimes recognized as anticompetitive restrictions that compel each user to make an all or nothing choice that may force acceptance of a full license contract in place of a less inclusive alternative that may actually be preferred. Competitive concerns at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department regarding blanket licensing at ASCAP and BMI led to a separate series of Consent Decrees for each of the two major PROs in the U.S.
To explore the disparate claims of economic efficiency, the paper finds that concepts from public utility regulation may be particularly helpful. Three characteristics are considered: where prices are subsidy-free, whether license provision is a natural monopoly, and whether any competitive submarkets can be structurally separated from the regulated core.

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Music Product as a Durable Good and Online Piracy

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 53-66, 2006

Sougata Poddar

Downloads:  377


Abstract

Music is typical experience good and the formats in which music is available; for example, CDs and cassettes or downloaded files are durable in nature. Using these two typical characteristics of the 'music product', in this paper, we develop an analytical framework to study the economic implications of online music piracy. On one hand, we show that no protection against piracy is never optimal for the legitimate music producer; on the other hand, we show that complete protection against piracy may not always be the best option; the decision on the degree of limiting piracy depends on the extent of the informational value of music downloads, cost of piracy and the quality of the downloaded music and as a result a partial protection can be optimal to the music producer.

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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

Downloads:  376


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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Getting Pricing Right on Digital Music Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 1-22

Joshua S. Gans

Downloads:  373


Abstract

This paper provides an overview of economic approaches to the pricing of mechanical royalties for copy-protected music works. It argues that principles for such pricing can be provided usefully from principles of pricing access to essential facilities. In particular, the structure of the royalty should be such that the royalty level does not change if the business model of downstream entities (notably, digital music streaming platforms) changes (i.e., neutrality) and the level of the royalty should ensure that the copyright holders receive a return in excess of their next best alternative in reaching consumers (i.e., opportunity cost). Ways of using benchmarking to derive the relevant opportunity cost are then discussed including the use of methods inspired by economic bargaining approaches such as the Shapley Value.

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The Recording Industry's Digital Dilemma: Challenges and Opportunities in High Piracy Markets

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 83-94, 2005

Brett Keintz

Downloads:  365


Abstract

Globally, the recording industry has experienced significant revenue decline and piracy growth within the last five years. In some countries like the United States, piracy is comprised mainly of the illegal sharing of digital recorded music files such as MP3s. In other countries like Spain, recorded music piracy is dominated by the physical production and sale of CD-Rs by organized crime networks. While there have been a number of legislative and law-enforcement changes made in many countries across the globe, these defensive efforts have at best served to slow piracy's growth. The next step for the recording industry is to develop a recorded digital music strategy for each country in an effort to restore revenue growth and reduce piracy by offering consumers a compelling digital music value proposition. In this paper, I explain why.

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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

Downloads:  362


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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Bargaining Theory and Royalty Contract Negotiations

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 19-27, 2006

Abhinay Muthoo

Downloads:  362


Abstract

This article shows how the principles of modern bargaining theory can help develop a better understanding of contractual terms such as royalties between copyright holders and users such as between an artist and a recording company (or between an author and a publisher). We develop the main principles in a non-technical and illustrative manner.

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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

Downloads:  361


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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Copyright: A Plea for Empirical Research

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 3-13, 2006

Ivan P. L. Png

Downloads:  356


Abstract

I review empirical research into the economic impact of copyright law. A key difficulty is that there is little systematic measurement of creative output and copying: there are only fragmentary statistics for the various industries. Studies of U.S. copyright registrations provide conflicting results: one shows that small changes in fees have large impacts on renewals, while another shows that many movies and books have long lives. All but one studies find that music piracy - whether conventional or digital - has hurt legitimate CD sales. Studies of extensions of copyright duration yield conflicting results: one focusing on U.S. registrations finds no effect, while a multi-country study finds that extensions are associated with substantial increases in movie production. I conclude with directions for future empirical research.

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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

Downloads:  350


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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Exclusion, Competition and Change: The Shifting Boundaries of the Television Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 5, No. 1, 55-74, 2008

Giovanni Battista Ramello and Francesco Silva

Downloads:  344


Abstract

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.

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Copyright from an Institutional Perspective: Actors, Interests, Stakes and the Logic of Participation

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 2, 65-97, 2007

Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt

Downloads:  341


Abstract

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.

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The Winds of Change. Journey of UK Music from the Old World to The New World

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 11(2), 27-59, 2014

Maurice C. Samuel

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Abstract

Digitisation and adoption of increasingly fast broadband Internet represent the two fundamental 'winds of change' that have transformed the UK music industry since the 1980s. This paper examines the impact of these changes on sales of music and, by extension, on the royalties of creators of music, in both nominal and real terms. It identifies weaknesses and threats in both, opportunities that might be developed as responses, and possible hypotheses for future economic research that are likely to be of interest to the sector in providing evidence in the debates around appropriate strategies and policies.

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