The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues (RERCI)

RERCI Articles

Patent and/or Copyright for Software: What Has Been Done So Far?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 3-14, 2007

Richard Watt

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Abstract

The particular case of software seems to have stretched the patent-copyright divide to the point of breakage. Inspite of being traditionally excluded from patent, software is an obvious case of a single creation that embodies both expression and innovation, and so strong arguments exist for software to be both copyrightable and patentable material. The legal profession has looked carefully at the patentability of software over the past 15 years or so, both from a fully legal perspective, and using economic-type arguments. But we are still waiting for the economics profession per sé to set to work on this issue. Here, I shall go through some of the most well known arguments surrounding the protection of software, and then put forward a personal opinion as to what theoretical economists are likely to add, if and when they include this important question on their research agendas.

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DRMS: A New Strategic Stake for Content Industries: The Case of the Online Music Market

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 53-67, 2005

Joelle Farchy and Heritiana Ranaivoson

Downloads:  1087


Abstract

DRMS are often described as essential in the development of the legal online supply of content, notably of music (In this paper, we do not study the cases of sites that sell pre-recorded music, such as Amazon). That is why they are becoming a crucial stake for the whole recovering music industry. In the first section, we will precise the strategic role of DRMS. The market for DRMS in the online music supply is a very recent one, but it is expected to grow rather fast. Moreover, DRMS are becoming the heart of the online music value chain. The aim of this paper is to study the technological competition between the firms that try to impose their standard on the growing market of DRMS. Because this competition relies on the lack of interoperability and on a possible monopolization, we find that the results of this competition may not benefit the content industries.

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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

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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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Digital File Sharing and the Music Industry: Was There a Substitution Effect?

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 41-52, 2005

Norbert J. Michel

Downloads:  1083


Abstract

Several empirical studies exist that measure the impact of filesharing services on music sales, and most suggest that there was a negative impact on sales. Still, most of these studies do not examine (at the household level) whether consumers substituted out of music and into movies. This paper uses micro-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (1998 through 2003) to test for this possible substitution effect. The data do not support the hypothesis that music consumers spent less on music because they spent more on either movie tickets or prerecorded movies (purchases or rentals).

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Revenue Sharing as Compensation for Copyright Holders

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, 51-97, 2011

Richard Watt

Downloads:  1078


Abstract

Essential inputs are an important topic of debate for economics. One common essential input is intellectual property, in the form of either patents or copyrights, which the producers of goods and services for final consumption must necessarily purchase from the input supplier. The ensuing monopoly power of the input supplier leads in many cases to controversial outcomes, in which social inefficiencies can occur. In much of the literature on the economics of intellectual property, it is assumed that the right holder is remunerated either by a fixed payment or by a payment that amounts to an additional marginal cost to the user, or both. However, in some significant instances in the real-world, right holders are constrained to use (or may choose to use) a compensation scheme that involves revenue sharing. That is, the right holder takes as remuneration a part of the user's revenue. In essence, the remuneration is set as a tax on the user's revenue. This paper analysis such remuneration mechanisms, establishing and analysing the optimal tax rate, and also the Nash equilibrium tax rate that would emerge from a fair and unconstrained bargaining problem. The second option provides a rate that may be useful for regulatory authorities. The model is calibrated against a (hypothetical) scenario in which the copyright holders in music are paid a regulated share of the revenue of music radio stations, a topic that is presently at the fore-front of the economics of copyright pricing.

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Private-Collective Software Business Models: Coordination and Commercialization Via Licensing

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, 47-61, 2007

Heli A. Koski

Downloads:  1065


Abstract

Private-collective business models that involve both private investment incentives and the production of public goods are not well understood. This empirically oriented research uses a unique data from the software industries of five European countries (Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain) to illuminate the patterns of private, entrepreneurial provision of software placed in the public domain. The estimation results strongly suggest that the highly restrictive GPL works as an efficient coordination mechanism for the (leading) developers of the OSS community and spreads particularly via the firms that have participated in the OSS development projects. The software companies supplying the OSS, instead, tend not to aim at using the GPL to coordinate the further development of their own OSS. Rather the firms are the origin of more flexibly licensed OSS products though generally the software firms' OSS business strategies relate to the restrictive licensing strategy choices.

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Licensing and Royalty Contracts for Copyright

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 1-17, 2006

Richard Watt

Downloads:  1061


Abstract

This paper reviews briefly how the owner of the copyright to a creation can best market access to that right to licensees under a variety of assumptions concerning the market. After an introductory section, the paper considers a situation of full certainty, in which the value of the final product that is sold by licensees is fully deterministic. In that setting, we consider a very simple model in which the copyright holder himself may or may not compete with the licensee in the final product market. Above all, it is shown that a linear form for the royalty contract always suffices in equilibrium. After that, a model with certainty as to the market value of the final product is developed. In this model, we consider Pareto efficient sharing contracts, and it is shown that now a linear form is unlikely to suffice. Throughout (i.e. in both sections), we shall be interested in exactly when a linear royalty contract is efficient, since these types of contract are so prevalent in the real world.Finally, as an introduction to the papers contained in the symposium, I devote a few words to each of them in turn.

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Digital Technology, Price Discrimination, and Copyright Duration Extension

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 7, No. 2, 39-55, 2010

Michael Y. Yuan

Downloads:  1060


Abstract

Many countries have yet to decide whether extend copyright duration. Technological changes were cited by a U.S. Senate report to support duration extension. This study adds to the assessment of the validity of the technological argument by simulating the effect on optimal copyright duration of increased price discrimination caused by digital technology. Simulation of a model of information product market indicates that increase of price discrimination on high-end market calls for shorter copyright duration; that on low-end market may support extension, if the discrimination benefits consumers, and otherwise work against it. It further suggests price discrimination on low-end market increases welfare and supply of original information products but that on the high-end market may either increase or decrease them.

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The Use of Vertical Market Prices in Setting Copyright Tariffs and Rates

Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 13(2), 66-82, 2016

Gerry Wall and Bernie Lefebvre

Downloads:  1056


Abstract

With the lack of direct markets to examine, copyright setting agencies often adopt a total proxy approach whereby other markets are used to formulate benchmark prices. In this paper, we utilize a "downstream" market to estimate the value to a commercial "rights user" of distant television signals. This "partial proxy" approach has two advantages: it uses data drawn from the distant signal market (i.e. vertical market information) and it uses actual market pricing data from buyers and sellers of programming content.
Using this data, we derive estimates of the wholesale market value of distant TV signals. Based on our analysis we find that the current per signal payment to distant signal rights-holders (as certified by the Copyright Board of Canada) is less than the actual market value of those signals.

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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

Downloads:  1053


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

Downloads:  1036


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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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

Downloads:  1035


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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The Socially Desirable Size of Copyright Fees

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

William J. Baumol

Downloads:  1034


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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Creative Pricing in Markets for Intellectual Property

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

William R Johnson

Downloads:  1030


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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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

Downloads:  1029


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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