Copyright Evidence

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Welcome to the Copyright Evidence Wiki
The open platform that collects evidence about copyright's role in society
665 studies have been fully catalogued
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Introducing Copyright Evidence

Copyright Evidence is a digital resource developed by CREATe at the University of Glasgow. The purpose of the Wiki is to categorise existing empirical studies on copyright to inform public debate and policy based on rigorous evidence. Among others, the evidence is catalogued by country, industry and research method, offering an in-depth view of existing findings. The evidence from empirical studies can be complemented with new results from CREATe research databases, such as those related to online consumption behaviour (OMeBa), litigation of IP cases (Litigation Explorer) and real-time infringement on file sharing networks (IPWatchr).

More about Copyright Evidence

Copyright Evidence intends to establish a body of evidence that allows better decision making in a contested policy field. Competing claims can be assessed and challenged transparently using underlying data and methods. Robustness and limitations of findings are carefully collected and are available here for all to reference.

This project is a form of dynamic literature review in a rapidly changing technological, business and socio-legal landscape. Only very recently, new research methods in combination with the development of big data techniques, which are richer both in size and in depth, have allowed researchers to test empirically key theoretical propositions and forced them to build theories which are consistent with observation. This generated the need to evaluate political decisions and design policy interventions based on evidence.

This open online platform builds on an innovative research philosophy and examines copyright from an interdisciplinary perspective, while it also facilitates bringing evidence to the debate from studies in fields that were previously overlooked. Relevant empirical work spreads across conventional methodological and disciplinary boundaries and it does not need to have "copyright" in the title.

A crucial dimension of the existing evidence examines different stages of production (e.g. creation, innovation, diffusion, distribution), in various creative industries (e.g. music, film and motion pictures, TV programmes, computer software, books), and estimates the effects of copyright on diverse agents in each sector, such as creators, investors, distributors, users or society as a whole. The fact that the impact of copyright law differs across various actors, industries and demographic groups, implies the need for more specific policies (for instance, even though the Ofcom (2011) survey provides evidence of heterogeneous consumption patterns, this remains an understudied aspect in most of the existing studies).

The transition to a global digital economy is associated with new challenges for enforcement authorities, for copyright law and for new business models. Imaginative use of the increasing volume of data is crucial for the design of more effective policies at the national and international level. Importantly, the effects of copyright protection and infringement for welfare, creativity and innovation require that policy decision making be consistent with rigorous empirical analysis.

I. Fundamental issues about the copyright incentive

II. Copyright policy issues

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Featured Study

Johnson (1985) Johnson, William R. The economics of copying. Journal of Political Economy 93.1 (1985): 158-174.

Semantic Drilldown

This feature allows users to browse all studies in the Wiki. See all studies categorised by country, industry, research method, and more. Click here to try it.

Methodology (Analysis)

Editorial Information

Editorial Board
Prof. Martin Kretschmer (chair), University of Glasgow
Assoc. Prof. Kristofer Erickson (co-chair), University of Leeds
Dr Kenneth Barr, University of Glasgow
Dr Heather Ford, University of Leeds
Assoc. Prof. Rebecca Giblin, Monash University
Prof. Paul Heald, University of Illinois
Dr Thomas Margoni, University of Glasgow
Dr Theo Koutmeridis University of Glasgow
Assoc. Prof. Joost Poort, University of Amsterdam
Fred Saunderson, National Library of Scotland
Prof. Ruth Towse, Bournemouth University & CREATe
Amy Thomas (sub-editor), University of Glasgow
Managing Editors

From 2014 to 2017, the copyright evidence wiki was developed by Theo Koutmeridis (lead editor), Kris Erickson and Martin Kretschmer. Research assistants coding entries were PhD candidates with CREATe, including Kenny Barr, Megan Blakely, Jaakko Miettinen, Victoria Stobo and Andrea Wallace. We have archived a version with GitHub that was produced under the responsibility of this team in January 2018, containing 593 studies.

Following the constitution of the editorial board in December 2017, a sub-editor was appointed, managing a search based process to identifying new studies. At this stage, all coding is still performed by research assistants at CREATe but we intend to open the Wiki to users in the future (who already can propose new studies). An editorial review process will be devised that will be open, yet robust enough to prevent capturing of the Wiki platform by any specific interests.

'Selection Methodology

Guidelines for the cataloguing of copyright evidence where drawn up following a CREATe workshop on 20 October 2014, attended by Sayantan Ghosal (Dpt of Economics, University of Glasgow), Georg v Graevenitz (Queen Mary University of London & CREATe Fellow in Innovation Economics), Morten Hviid (Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia) and Ruth Towse (Bournemouth University & CREATe Fellow in Cultural Economics). Further consultations took place with Chris Buccafusco (New York University), Smita Kheria (University of Edinburgh), Joost Poort (Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam & CREATe Fellow in Economics of copyright and media industries) and Steven Watson (Lancaster University).

An initial selection of studies was drawn from four sources:

  1. A scoping review of the "piracy" literature commissioned by CREATe from Watson, Fleming and Zizzo, published in 2014. This used a review technique from the medical sciences to identify more than 50,000 academic sources that were potentially relevant for assessing unlawful file sharing, covering music, film, television, video games, software and books. During the review process, the sources were narrowed down to 206 articles which examined human behaviour.
  2. Working papers and pre-prints published in the SSRN e-journal Intellectual Property: Empirical Studies (edited by Christopher J. Buccafusco and David L. Schwartz). 710 papers published between November 1996 and July 2015 were narrowed down to 132 studies relevant to copyright law. These were further reviewed by the core editorial team of the Wiki (Koutmeridis, Erickson, Kretschmer) if they contained "sufficient empirical material" that warranted coding. "Sufficient empirical material" could be quantitative or qualitative. Our working definition excluded anecdotal or journalistic treatment, though single case studies were acceptable if the methodology was articulated and justified. A total of 103 studies were selected and catalogued from this SSRN source.
  3. Expert literature reviews conducted by Handke (2011), Kretschmer (2012) and Kheria (2013). They were used to fill some of the gaps left by the "piracy" review, in particular relating to creator perspectives. A total of 81 studies will be catalogued under this method.
  4. 50 governmental reports on intellectual property/copyright policy, proposed by CREATe doctoral candidates Kenny Barr and Megan Blakely, and reviewed by the core editorial team of the Wiki (Koutmeridis, Erickson, Kretschmer).
This selection of studies was pragmatic. The aim was to set a standard of review, and allocate limited resources for coding. The text that appears in the main page has been commissioned and reviewed by the editorial team. In particular, the initial texts for 'evidence-based copyright policy' have been written by Kris Erickson and Elena Cooper (B. Exceptions) and by Theodore Koutmeridis (F. Enforcement).


How to use and cite The Copyright Evidence Wiki

If referring to the earlier version archived with GitHub [1] in January 2018, we suggest that the resource is cited in the following way: Koutmeridis, T., Erickson, K. & Kretschmer, M. (eds.) (2014-2017) The Copyright Evidence Wiki: Empirical Evidence for Copyright Policy. CREATe Centre: University of Glasgow. http://CopyrightEvidence.org When citing the current version, we suggest: The Copyright Evidence Wiki: Empirical Evidence for Copyright Policy. CREATe Centre: University of Glasgow. http://CopyrightEvidence.org Please include the date when the resource was accessed.

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This is a project of the CREATe copyright research centre at the University of Glasgow. With support from Research Councils UK.