Heald (2017a)

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

Heald (2017a)
Title: Copyright Reversion to Authors (and the Rosetta Effect): An Empirical Study of Reappearing Books
Author(s): Heald, P. J.
Year: 2017
Citation: Heald, Paul J., Copyright Reversion to Authors (and the Rosetta Effect): An Empirical Study of Reappearing Books (December 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084920 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3084920
Link(s): Open Access,Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: Heald sorted the Data collected into three Datasets:
  • 1. 800 books of NYT bestselling authors who died between 1973 and 1999 and the effect on them caused by the two reversion rules under 17 US Code § 203 and 17 US Code § 304.
  • 2. 268 books that at some point in time make the weekly NYT fiction bestsellers list from 1956-59 and from 1963-66, and 421 books NYT fiction bestsellers from 1974-81 and 1983-86.
  • 3. 64 books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review (NYTBR) from 1978-84.
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:
Funder(s):

Abstract

Copyright keeps out-of-print books unavailable to the public, and commentators speculate that statutes transferring rights back to authors would provide incentives for the republication of books from unexploited back catalogs. This study compares the availability of books whose copyrights are eligible for statutory reversion under US law with books whose copyrights are still exercised by the original publisher. It finds that 17 USC § 203, which permits reversion to authors in year 35 after publication, and 17 USC § 304, which permits reversion 56 years after publication, significantly increase in-print status for important classes of books. Several reasons are offered as to why the § 203 effect seems stronger. The 2002 decision in Random House v. Rosetta Books, which worked a one-time de facto reversion of ebook rights to authors, has an even greater effect on inprint status than the statutory schemes.

Main Results of the Study

  • Long Copyright durations lead to the disappearance of large numbers of book titles from the general availability.
  • The court decision Random House, Inc. V. Rosetta Books LLC. (2001), lead the vast licensing of eBook publication rights of books that have already been published as printed versions and thus to a republication of elder literary works as pure ‘eBook versions’, by smaller, independent publishers (Rosetta Effect).
  • The lack of availability caused by long terms of copyright protection cannot be solved by decreasing the length of protection because of nearly universal membership in the Berne Convention.
  • Reversion rights might contribute to a solution against the disappearance of books and is possible under the Berne Convention.


Policy Implications as Stated By Author

  • The law figure of a reversion right can be part of a solution against the problem of dissapearing books.
  • Further research is necessary to determine the ideal timing for rights reversion.


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)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Green-tick.png
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Green-tick.png
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)
Green-tick.png
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
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)

Datasets

Sample size: 800
Level of aggregation: Books
Period of material under study: Publications of NYT bestselling authors who died between 1973-1999


Sample size: 689
Level of aggregation: Books
Period of material under study: 1956-59 and from 1963-66, 1974-81 and 1983-86


Sample size: 464
Level of aggregation: Books
Period of material under study: Reviewed by the New York Times Book Review (NYTBR) from 1978-84