|Title:||The Economics of Copying|
|Author(s):||William R Johnson|
|Citation:||Johnson, William R. The economics of copying. Journal of Political Economy 93.1 (1985): 158-174.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|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:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
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
|Level of aggregation:||Models of copying|
|Period of material under study:||1977 to 1984|