|Title:||Testing the Over- and Under-Exploitation Hypotheses: Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913-32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968-2007)|
|Author(s):||Heald, P. J.|
|Citation:||Heald, P. J. (2008). Testing the Over- and Under-Exploitation Hypotheses: Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913-32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968-2007). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper, (234).|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Buccafusco and Heald (2012), Flynn Giblin and Petitjean (2019), Heald (2014a), Heald (2014b), Heald, Shi, Stoiber and Zheng (2012a), Reimers (2019)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Identified the 1294 most popular musical compositions from 1913-32 and focuses on the 74 most enduringly valuable of those compositions. The years 1968-2007 were chosen because the compositions from 1913-22 began to fall into the public domain in 1988, the mid-point in that timeline.
Songs (full list) were then tracked in the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Some economists assert that as valuable works transition from copyrighted status and fall into the public domain they will be underexploited and their value dissipated. Others insist instead that without an owner to control their use, valuable public domain works will be overexploited or otherwise debased. This study of the most valuable musical compositions from 1913-32 demonstrates that neither hypothesis is true as it applies to the exploitation of songs in movies from 1968-2007. When compositions fall into the public domain, they are more likely to be exploited in movies, suggesting no under-exploitation. And the rate of exploitation of these public domain songs is no greater than that of copyrighted songs, indicating no congestion externality. The absence of market failure is likely due to producer and consumer self-regulation.
Main Results of the Study
- Public domain songs are exploited at statistically the same rate as copyrighted songs, indicating that in this context worries of both over- and under-exploitation are misplaced.
- When compositions fall into the public domain, they are more likely to be exploited in movies, suggesting no under-exploitation.
- Results obtained with a logistic regression analysis to control for time-period effects suggest that copyright status plays no significant role in affecting the probability of a song’s appearance in a film.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Legislative response should be very specifically targeted to a very narrow set of work.
Blanket term extensions cannot be justified by handful of narrow unproven hypothesis.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Musical compositions|
|Period of material under study:||1913-32|