|Title:||The Effect of Copyright Term Length on South African Book Markets (With Reference to the Google Book Project)|
|Author(s):||Heald, P. J.|
|Citation:||Heald, P. J. (2020) The Effect of Copyright Term Length on South African Book Markets (With Reference to the Google Book Project). South African Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Forthcoming|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The dataset consists of 1066 novels and short story collections written by each of the 123 authors listed in the “List of South African Authors” Wikipedia page. Information was gathered on the author’s date of birth and death, title, date of publication, copyright status of the book, availability of the ebook on Amazon or Takealot, availability of bound volumes on Takealot, and the number of used copies available from South African book shops selling on Abesbooks.com.|
Of the 1066 books, 46 (4.3%) were in the public domain. As such, the study confirms their availability on Google Books. The author also cautions that the low number of public domain books may dampen the significance of some findings.
|Data Type:||Primary and 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:|
“Research on the effect of copyright term extension in the United States demonstrates the negative effect of protection on the availability of new bound editions, ebooks, and audiobook editions of older works. Among the most popular titles, copyright protection also is associated strongly with higher prices in the US. Another recent study documents the negative effect of copyright term extension on titles available for e-lending in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The present study measures the effect of copyright on the availability of bound volumes and ebooks in South Africa, a jurisdiction currently under pressure to extend its term of copyright beyond the current life-plus-fifty. Monopoly pricing effects in ebook markets in South Africa, and by analogy to other life-plus-fifty jurisdictions, are also shown. Finally, the paper measures the extent to which the Google Books Project improves the availability of books in South Africa.”
Main Results of the Study
Public domain status is associated with higher availability of book titles, with public domain fiction titles before 1960 in print at a 55% rate. This availability increases even further (to 78%) when free availability via Google Books is factored in.
Copyrighted books are more expensive than their public domain counterparts, with an approx $.013 difference per page in bound books, and a differential of $.015 - $.039 for ebooks.
Books which have benefitted from a reversion right are more available (33%) than those non-reverted books (23%).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study suggests that copyright term extension in South Africa may lead to fewer book titles in print and higher prices. However, some mitigating factors, such as the availability of public domain books on Google Books, may mitigate this effect.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Books|
|Period of material under study:|