|Title:||A Taxonomy of Empirical Research on Copyright - How Do We Inform Policy?|
|Citation:||Handke, C. (2012). A Taxonomy of Empirical Research on Copyright-How Do We Inform Policy?. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 9(1), pp.47-92.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
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|About the Data|
|Data Description:||This study is a literature review and has no original data.|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
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|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system — and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.
Main Results of the Study
This paper advances a relatively elaborate taxonomy of empirical studies on the economic consequences of unauthorized copying and copyright. The classification and overview presented here yields an important insight: the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on rights holders, and in particular on the extent to which unauthorized copying harms rights holders. In order to inform copyright policy, it will also be necessary to make progress on several other topics. Little is known about the implications in real markets for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Many studies on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues find a significant negative effect, at least over the relatively short periods of time covered in most assessments. If this stands, other steps have to follow in order to inform copyright policy. It is still unclear how user welfare is affected, and what the more protracted effects are, for instance on the supply of copyright works. The sparse evidence so far raises doubts whether any losses to rights holders translate into a loss in social welfare under current market conditions. For example, there is hardly any evidence that copyright strength would be positively related to the quantity or quality of copyright works supplied. Particularly in this area, much work remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.