Johnson (1985)

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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

Johnson (1985)
Title: The Economics of Copying
Author(s): William R Johnson
Year: 1985
Citation: Johnson, William R. The economics of copying. Journal of Political Economy 93.1 (1985): 158-174.
Link(s): Definitive
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by: Handke, Girard and Mattes (2015), Holm (2001), Liebowitz (1985)
About the Data
Data Description: This study compares two models of copying: the first model emphasizes the household production aspect of copying with costs differing across consumers, while the second relies on the fixed cost of copying technologies. The author then determines the effect of each model on social welfare. The study also utilises a literature review.
Data Type: Secondary 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:
  • 1977 to 1984
Funder(s):

Abstract

Recent technological advances that enable consumers to copy creative works without compensating their owners have led to proposals for restrictions on copying. To analyze such restrictions, this paper considers two models of copying. The first model emphasizes the household production aspect of copying with costs differing across consumers, while the second relies on the fixed cost of copying technologies. In both models, a case can be made for restricting copying even in the short run if copying induces a large reduction in demand for originals relative to its effect on total consumption. The long-run case for restriction hinges additionally on the elasticity of supply and the value consumers place on product variety.

Main Results of the Study

Using two plausible models of copying, this paper has advanced the possibilities that unlimited copying reduces social welfare and that restrictions on copying may enhance social surplus. Such possibilities were shown to depend on (1) the degree to which copying reduces the demand for originals as opposed to increasing total consumption, (2) the elasticity of supply of creative works, and (3) the value consumers place on product variety.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

  • Unrestricted copying may lead to a reduction in social welfare.
  • Lack of restrictions on copying may lead to a long term reduction in the production of goods.
  • Restrictions on copying may lead to a social surplus.


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)?
Green-tick.png
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
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)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
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: 2
Level of aggregation: Models of copying
Period of material under study: 1977 to 1984