|Title:||Copyright for Blockheads: An Empirical Study of Market Incentive and Intrinsic Motivation|
|Citation:||Liu, J. (2015). Copyright for Blockheads: An Empirical Study of Market Incentive and Intrinsic Motivation. Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2633263|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The qualitative research presented in this paper uses data collected from 53 interviews with musicians, music executives and collecting societies in the Chinese music industry.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Copyright law is widely perceived as the means to promote social welfare by providing necessary incentive for intellectual creation. However, there has been little clarity in copyright literature on how artists actually respond to copyright incentives: What factors motivate artists to create works? How do artists perceive the usefulness of copyright protection? Would artists continue their artistic careers in a world without copyright law? This article contains a systematic study regarding copyright incentives, based on industrial statistics and extensive interviews from the music industry in China, a virtual copyright-free environment featuring one of the highest piracy rates in the world and having forced dramatic transformation of music businesses.
The empirical research indicates three seemingly paradoxical phenomena: While 17.9% of all the musicians in the sample referred to economic benefits as at least part of their motivations for music creation, 97.4% specifically recognized money as being important and helpful for music creation; While 56.4% alleged that copyright piracy did not affect their creative motivations, 72% agreed that copyright piracy does affect music creation; While 53.8% explicitly admitted that they had little awareness or knowledge of copyright, 92.3% indicated that the current level of copyright protection is insufficient and 71.8% suggested that copyright law should provide strong incentives for music creation.
The empirical evidence itself provides compelling explanations for such paradoxes: Even though musicians primarily create music for music’s sake, copyright law could still supply powerful incentive for music production in a way that not only caters to market demand, but also allows for broader artistic freedom. Copyright piracy that does not necessarily affect musicians’ intrinsic motivations could nevertheless affect music creation in terms of the time spent on music creation, the volume of investment in music creation, and ultimately the quality of music creation. Most importantly, copyright incentives do not function as a reward that musicians consciously bargain for and chase after but as a mechanism that preserves market conditions for gifted musicians to prosper, including a decent standard of living, sufficient income to cover production costs, and maximum artistic autonomy during the creative process.
Main Results of the Study
Given that the majority of musicians appear to create music simply for music’s sake, copyright law may not realize its full potential in the digital age if it is understood narrowly as a quid pro quo using economic benefits to induce creative production. This Article has demonstrated that copyright incentives—although not something most musicians deliberately bargain for or chase after—should be playing an important role in cultivating market conditions for the widest variety of musicians to prosper, including a decent standard of living, sufficient investment to allay production costs and maximum artistic autonomy during the creative process. Copyright piracy that does not necessarily affect musicians’ intrinsic motivations could nevertheless affect music creation in terms of the time spent on music creation, the volume of investment in music creation and ultimately the quality of music creation.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Copyright law could supply powerful incentives for intellectual creation in a way that not only caters to market demand but also allows for maximum artistic freedom, especially for artists who create primarily for noneconomic interests. To this extent, copyright law is and should be, after all, a law for the blockheads, which harnesses the powers of market economy to achieve the ultimate purpose of promoting cultural diversity and knowledge development in our society.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2010|