Breyer (1970)

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1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Breyer (1970)
Title: The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Study of Copyright in Books, Photocopies, and Computer Programs
Author(s): S. Breyer
Year: 1970
Citation: Breyer, S., 1970. The uneasy case for copyright: A study of copyright in books, photocopies, and computer programs. Harvard Law Review, pp.281-351.
Link(s): Definitive
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by: Akerlof, Hahn and Litan (2002), Ku, Sun and Fan (2009), Weatherall, Webster and Bently (2009)
About the Data
Data Description: The article contains no original data, but uses a literature review to inform the arguments.
Data Type:
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: Yes
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
Funder(s):

Abstract

This paper was written in 1970 as Congress were considering the first major revision of the Copyright Act of 1909. Professor Breyer examines the moral and economic rationale for copyright in books. He goes on to consider proposals that would lengthen the term of protection and increase its scope in relation to photocopies and computer programs. On the basis of existing evidence he is unable to conclude that copyright should be abolished, but he argues that its extension is unnecessary and would be harmful.

Main Results of the Study

The article explores the assumptions and principles underlying copyright protection; it asks what would happen to book publishing if copyright were abolished." The author concludes that the case for copyright in the book trade is not a strong one generally and is even weaker for some parts of that trade. Taken as a whole, the evidence now available (after exploring the assumptions) suggests that, although we should hesitate to abolish copyright protection, we should equally hesitate to extend or strengthen it.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The article examines several ways in which the comprehensive Copyright Revision Bill before Congress at the time of writing would increase protection. The author found that the bill would extend copyright's duration from a maximum of fifty-six years to "life of the author plus fifty years." It would allow more effective protection against those who make xeroxed copies of books. It would allow the copyrighting of computer programs. The author argues that in none of these areas has the case for increased protection been adequately made.

Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Green-tick.png
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Green-tick.png
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Green-tick.png
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Green-tick.png
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Green-tick.png
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Datasets