Erickson, Kretschmer and Mendis (2013)
|Erickson, Kretschmer and Mendis (2013)
|Copyright and the Economic Effects of Parody: An Empirical Study of Music Videos on the YouTube Platform and an Assessment of the Regulatory Options
|Erickson, K., Kretschmer, M., Mendis, D.
|Erickson, K., Kretschmer, M., & Mendis, D. (2013). Copyright and the Economic Effects of Parody: An Empirical Study of Music Videos on the YouTube Platform and an Assessment of the Regulatory Options. Intellectual Property Office Research Paper, (2013/24).
|Key Related Studies:
|Erickson and Kretschmer (2018), Jacques, Garstkam, Hvidd and Street (2018), Kretschmer and Towse (2013)
|About the Data
|A sample of 8,299 user-generated music video parodies was constructed relating to the top-100 charting music singles in the UK for the year 2011.
|Primary and Secondary data
|Secondary Data Sources:
|Data Collection Methods:
|Data Analysis Methods:
|Cross Country Study?:
|Government or policy study?:
|Time Period(s) of Collection:
The status of parody and related derivative works within the UK copyright framework lacks clarity and has been recommended for further policy study in two recent independent reviews: the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property in 2006 and the more recent Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth published in 2011.
The review documents highlight the dual importance of parodic works both as a form of cultural expression and as a potential source of innovation and growth. A key recommendation made by Hargreaves is that the Government create a new fair dealing copyright exception for parody. However, a shortage of empirical data renders policy intervention in this area difficult. The issue is complicated by the inherently creative nature of parody, ambiguity about its definition and the multiplicity of economic and legal approaches that may be applied.
In December 2011, following a call to tender procedure, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) commissioned the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University to undertake research into the potential effects for rightsholders, creators and audiences of introducing a copyright exception for Parody in the UK. This synopsis reports the key findings from two complementary studies carried out by the researchers. Study I presents new empirical data about the rate and nature of parody content production on the online video platform YouTube, and its impact on commercial exploitation of original works where they can be considered to be part of the same market. Study II distils regulatory options for a parody exception from a comparative review of seven jurisdictions.
The current synopsis document contains three parts. First, it discusses the empirical findings from Study I. A sample of 8,299 user-generated music video parodies was constructed relating to the top-100 charting music singles in the UK for the year 2011. Secondly, this synopsis presents a distilled discussion of the legal treatment of parodies in seven jurisdictions that have implemented or are considering implementing a copyright exception for parody (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK, and USA). The underlying principles (including economic and constitutional) governing divergent legal approaches are identified, and a list of policy options is presented. Thirdly, this synopsis document provides a synthesis of the legal analysis and the empirical data. Each of the policy options identified in Study II is examined for its likely impact on the empirical sample gathered in Study I. Finally, some recommendations are made.
Main Results of the Study
The key findings are:
- Parody is a significant consumer activity: On average, there are 24 user-generated parodies available for each original video of a charting single.
- There is no evidence for economic damage to rights holders through substitution: The presence of parody content is correlated with, and predicts larger audiences for original music videos.
- The potential for reputational harm in the observed sample is limited: Only 1.5% of all parodies sampled took a directly negative stance, discouraging viewers from commercially supporting the original.
- Observed creative contributions were considerable: In 78% of all cases, the parodist appeared on camera (also diminishing the possibility of confusion).
- There exists a small but growing market for skilled user-generated parody: Parodists who exhibit higher production values in their works attract larger audiences, which can be monetised via revenue share with YouTube.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study outlines four key recommendations:
- Avoid distinguishing between genres (satire, burlesque, etc.): Legislators and courts could struggle to classify works benefiting from an exception under copyright law, due to the high level of ambiguity inherent in this type of creation. It is recommended that any policy be crafted in such a way as to minimise the need for subjective judgments about what constitutes humoristic or target parody, as opposed to other types of work.
- In order to realise the benefits of economic growth, allow commercial parody: Providing a legal framework which allows amateurs and small producers to monetise their intellectual contributions will likely result in an increase in new works.
- If an economic test is introduced, focus on incentive rationale and substitution effects: If policy makers want to resist (in Hargreaves’ words) ‘over-regulation of activities which do not prejudice the central objective of copyright, namely the provision of incentives to creators’, the focus needs to be on the threat of substitution of the original by the parody
- Consider responsiveness to changing cultural and technological circumstances: It is recommended that any interpretation of intellectual input or transformative use remain sensitive to the rapidly changing cultural practices enabled by online tools.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:
|user-generated music video parodies
|Period of material under study: