|Title:||Empirical Studies of Copyright Registration|
|Citation:||Oliar, D. Empirical Studies of Copyright Registration. Draft 3/2/2017. To be included in Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law (Vol. II – Analytical Methods) (Peter S. Menell & David L. Schwartz eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming 2017)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of a literature review of empirical evidence in relation to copyright registrations in the United States, comprising of seven journal articles.|
|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:||
“Despite the blossoming of copyright law and authorship theories over the past decades, there has thus far been very little in terms of empirical research to either affirm or refute any. Fortunately, the Copyright Office is home to the largest and oldest running registry of copyright claims worldwide, whose contents give a sense of the rate and direction of the production of literature, music, theatre, dance, the fine arts, movies and other original and expressive works of authorship in the U.S. over time. In recent years, a small yet growing body of literature has started to look at registration records in order to inform copyright policy.
This essay provides a survey of the empirical literature on copyright registration to date. Chronologically, the literature has come to rely on better data over time. Initial studies used registration data that were noisy in significant ways; later studies composed their statistics by aggregating the contents of individual registration records scoured from the Copyright Office’s website; current studies rely on accurate data obtained directly from the Office. Registration data have been used to provide descriptive statistics about authors, the authorship process and the rate and direction of authorial creativity; to challenge accepted premises of copyright and authorship theories; to assess the prudence of particular copyright reforms and to assess the overall performance of the copyright system. The forthcoming public release of registration data is likely to contribute to their further scholarly analysis.”
Main Results of the Study
The study evidences three “stages” of empirical research in copyright registrations:• Early studies (2003 – 2009) – This stage is characterised by the use of noisy, and potentially unreliable, data on the number of registrations. The authors conclude the evidence obtained is still valuable, including: term extensions since the implementation of the Berne conventions have caused no significant increase in registrations, and; court cases perceived as strengthening protection increase copyright registration applications.• Second wave (2013 – 2014) – This stage is characterised by the use of computerised scripts utilised to count the number of registrations in a given year, and is generally perceived to be more reliable than the early studies detailed above. These studies take in more demographic factors of registration applicants, finding that age differs substantially across artistic fields (e.g. generally very young creators in music, whereas literary authors tend to be older), and that geographic clusters are evident in certain fields (e.g. film and music tend to be highly concentrated in specific areas, rather than uniformly distributed).• Third stage (2015 onwards) – This stage is characterised by the “gold standard” use of official Copyright Office data (obtained from the full Copyright Office Catalogue). These studies can give more longitudinal evidence of registration trends over time, having access to records from 1978-2012. Further demographic evidence is provided on factors such as race and gender, which reveal that authors are becoming more diverse over time.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study has a descriptive purpose to provide reliable information as to the relationship between copyright and incentives to create, evidencing nearly twenty years of empirical evidence. Similarly there is a policy-informing purpose. In regards to terms of protection, there is evidence of substantial differences in authors’ ages across art forms, which may suggest that copyright duration should be reconsidered to optimise incentives (and create cohesiveness in the light of increasingly older authors). Furthermore, demographic data in relation to geographic clusters of creativity, or racial minorities, may be useful in informing where educational policies should be directed.
Coverage of Study