|Title:||The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Study of Copyright in Books, Photocopies, and Computer Programs|
|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.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|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.|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
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.