Lunney, Jr. (2014)

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Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

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

Lunney, Jr. (2014)
Title: Empirical Copyright: A Case Study of File Sharing and Music Output
Author(s): Lunney, Jr. G. S.
Year: 2014
Citation: Lunney Jr, G. S. (2014). Empirical Copyright: A Case Study of File Sharing and Music Output. Tulane Public Law Research Paper, (14-2).
Link(s): Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: The author created a hand-coded data set identifying each new artist and each new song that appeared in the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100 during the first week of each month from 1985 through 2013.
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:
  • First week of every month from 1985 - 2013
Funder(s):

Abstract

From a utilitarian perspective, devising an optimal copyright regime requires a simple balancing of copyright’s benefits against its costs in order to maximize the resulting social welfare. While simple in theory, this balance has proven surprisingly difficult to achieve in practice. In part, this difficulty arises because the data available is inevitably limited, and often observational, and so the conclusions are fraught with ambiguity and uncertainty. In part, it arises because there are vested political interests that do not want an optimal copyright regime. Rather, they seek a copyright regime that maximizes their own welfare, whatever that may be. As a result, whatever data is available, and whatever uncertainty or ambiguity remains, they will twist in order to ensure that copyright serves them, rather than society as a whole. Whether due to the first problem or the second, there are also surprisingly few empirical studies of the costs and benefits associated with broadening or narrowing copyright. This study aims to help fill that gap by examining how file sharing has affected the creation and dissemination of new original music.

Main Results of the Study

In this paper, empirical evidence shows that file sharing did not reduce the creation of new hit songs. Even if we assume that file sharing caused the decline in record sales which paralleled file sharing’s rise, the decline in record sales had two effects relevant to the creation of new music. First, it shifted output along the music-other margin and led to fewer new artists, as some individuals, given the lower returns available in music, decided to devote their time and creativity elsewhere. Second, it shifted output along the work-leisure margin and led to more new music from existing artists, as the lower returns led existing artists to substitute work for leisure. Because the second marginal effect outweighed the first, file sharing, even assuming that it caused the decline in record sales, led to the creation, on balance, of more new hit songs.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

Given that file sharing advances copyright’s purported objectives, there would seem to be only one reasonable answer as to whether file sharing, at least with respect to music, should be legal under copyright law.


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)?
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)
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)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

Sample size: 100
Level of aggregation: Songs
Period of material under study: 1985-2013