Biasi and Moser (2018)

From Copyright EVIDENCE

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

Biasi and Moser (2018)
Title: Effects of Copyrights on Science
Author(s): Biasi, B., Moser, P.
Year: 2018
Citation: Biasi, B. and Moser, P. (2018) Effects of Copyrights on Science. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: The study constructs a dataset based on 334 books listed in the Book Republication Program (United States group) and 1,683 books listed in the catalogs of the Swiss National Library (Swiss control group) (total = 2,017). Citations referring to these books are confirmed primarily via Google Scholar, with cross checks in US Library Holdings.
Data Type: Primary and 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:
  • 1920 - 1970
Funder(s):
  • National Science Foundation CAREER grant 1151180
  • INet’s Grant for Copyright and Creativity
  • Gregory Terrill Cox Fellowship
  • John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at Stanford Law

Abstract

“Copyrights, which establish intellectual property in music, science, and other creative goods, are intended to encourage creativity. Yet, copyrights also raise the cost of accessing existing work— potentially discouraging future innovation. This paper uses an exogenous shift towards weak copyrights (and low access costs) during WWII to examine the potentially adverse effects of copyrights on science. Using two alternative identification strategies, we show that weaker copyrights encouraged the creation of follow-on science, measured by citations. This change is driven by a reduction in access costs, allowing scientists at less affluent institutions to use existing knowledge in new follow-on research.”

Main Results of the Study

• Following the US nullification of German copyright’s in 1942, the average cost of books decreased (approx. 25%), and citations to both English-language books and Swiss-language books sharply increased (80% and 67% respectively). These two factors seem to have a complementary effect, with each 10% decline in price of a BRP book being associated with 38% additional citations by English-language authors.
• Certain genres saw more disproportionate effects, with e.g. mathematics seeing more new works created compared to e.g. chemistry. This may be because certain disciplines, such as chemistry, will always be tied to other physical capital (such as e.g. laboratory space)
• As an alternative measure of stimulated creativity, the study also finds that post-BRP, patents which made reference to BRP books increased by 15%. More mathematics PhDs were also associated with BRP book availability (using geographic measures of proximity).

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

Whilst the study does not make any explicit policy recommendations, the authors conclude that stronger copyright laws may disincentivise the creation of new science. Related to this, lower prices and targeted subsidies may also encourage creation.



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)
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: 2,017
Level of aggregation: Books
Period of material under study: 1920 - 1970