Buccafusco, Burns, Fromer and Sprigman (2014)

From Copyright EVIDENCE

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

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

Buccafusco, Burns, Fromer and Sprigman (2014)
Title: Experimental Tests of Intellectual Property Laws’ Creativity Thresholds
Author(s): Buccafusco, C. J., Burns, Z. C., Fromer, J. C., Sprigman, C. J.
Year: 2014
Citation: Buccafusco, C. J., Burns, Z. C., Fromer, J. C., & Sprigman, C. J. (2014). Experimental Tests of Intellectual Property Laws’ Creativity Thresholds. Texas Law Review, 93, 1921.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
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About the Data
Data Description: The data mas survey data collected via Mechanical turk.
Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • 2014
Funder(s):

Abstract

In the United States, intellectual property (IP) law is intended to encourage the production of new creative works and inventions. Copyright and patent laws do this by providing qualifying authors and inventors with a bundle of exclusive rights relating to the use and development of their creations. Importantly, however, these fields differ greatly in the ways that they determine whether some new creation is sufficiently innovative to merit legal protection. Copyright law sets the creativity bar especially low for new works of authorship, whereas patent law demands that a putative inventor prove that her creation is highly innovative. Relatively little research has focused on whether the different IP thresholds affect the incentives and behavior of creators.

Legal scholarship on the effects of differing IP thresholds on creators has generally relied on standard economic assumptions about the way that people respond to incentives. Creators are assumed to be rational and to respond to increased incentives by producing more and better creations. According to this reasoning, because patent law requires more creativity as a precondition to the conferral of IP rights compared to what copyright law requires, creators subject to the patent regime will be encouraged to be more creative than those subject to the copyright regime.

Recent research in the social sciences, however, suggests that the connection between incentives and behavior — particularly with regard to creativity — is not always so straightforward. Although some research indicates that providing incentives to act creatively has the expected effect of increasing creativity, other research suggests that offering certain types of incentives can undermine creative behavior. For example, monetary incentives to perform creative tasks may dampen creativity. Moreover, and importantly for our purposes, increasing the magnitude of an incentive to be creative may not always lead to more or better behavior. Once creativity incentives are sufficiently salient or intense, there is a risk that people will be overly focused on achieving the incentive and “choke.”

In the series of experiments reported in this Article, we extend the research on the effects of incentives for creativity into the realm of intellectual property. Specifically, we test whether the existence of a creativity threshold that conditions entry into a prize lottery on meeting certain performance standards affects how creative people are. The experiments reported here involve various creativity tasks in which subjects are randomly assigned to conditions that are intended to model the different creativity thresholds employed by copyright and patent law. Doing so allows us to test whether the existence and nature of a threshold increases, decreases, or does not affect subjects’ creativity.

This research contributes to the growing debates about whether copyright law’s creativity threshold is set too low and should be increased and whether patent law’s creativity threshold is appropriately set. More broadly, this research adds to the growing literature in law, psychology, economics, and management on the effects of incentives on behavior.

Main Results of the Study

  • Hypothesis: If IP thresholds affect incentives and behaviour of creators. There were three types of creativity under study 1. Computational, 2. Verbal, 3. Figural
  • There were also different thresholds to get into the price draw 5%, 25%, and 50% along with a Copyright condition where the better you did the better chance you had at a payout and lastly a control where there were not monetary incentives.
  • Subjects performed better in the high threshold patent conditions compared to the copyright and control groups. Thus no evidence of either crowding-out of intrinsic incentive or a choking effect due to the increased performance pressure brought on by the increased thresholds.
  • However there was little difference between the copyright and the control and between patent conditions. There is some evidence to suggest that some non-trivial thresholds for creativity would incentivize creation.
  • There was also a treatment where the task was a simple cognition task . Thus the authors could test if there was a difference in the way subjects were motivated differently by the monetary rewards in different tasks. They found that there was not a significant difference in performance between subject in any of the different threshold conditions in the cognition task, suggesting that thresholds motivate creative output more compared to non-cognition tasks.


Policy Implications as Stated By Author

For relatively low-stakes creativity involving nonprofessional creators who are motivated externally, low thresholds may not create significant incentives, which suggest for this case copyright law is an incentive for creation.

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)
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)
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

Sample size: 789
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: 2014


Sample size: 795
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: 2014


Sample size: 961
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: 2014


Sample size: 944
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: 2014