Liebowitz (2008a)

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

Liebowitz (2008a)
Title: Is the Copyright Monopoly a Best-Selling Fiction?
Author(s): Liebowitz, S.J.
Year: 2008
Citation: Liebowitz, S.J. (2008) Is the Copyright Monopoly a Best-Selling Fiction? Technology Policy Working Paper, September 2008
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: Data were gathered from bestseller lists of book titles between 1895 and 1940. This data was then compared against bestseller titles between 2002 and 2004. Whilst many variables were gathered, including whether the book was in a special edition print or illustrated, the key variable was whether the book title was still within copyright term.
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:
  • 1895 - 1940
  • 2002 - 2004
Funder(s):

Abstract

“This paper attempts to determine the impact of copyright on the prices of books, which is a task that has not, to my knowledge, been undertaken before. Recent prices of best-sellers written between 1895 and 1940, some with copyright and some without, are compared. One set of empirical findings based on typical regressions indicate that the prices of copyrighted works do not appear higher than the prices of non-copyrighted works. Another set of findings, based upon giving greater weights to books that have greater unit sales, implies that copyright raises price by up to 14.5%. This bifurcated result allows the contemplation of two scenarios. In the first, copyright does not raise price at all. This is explained by appealing to the nascent literature on uniform pricing. If books are best described by this model I show that increases in copyright unambiguously increase welfare. The increased-price scenario notes that authors appear to receive all the industry rents and examines the possible deadweight losses due to the higher price of copyrighted books. I calculate a range of deadweight losses based upon seemingly reasonable market assumptions and find the size of the deadweight loss is small compared to industry revenue. Importantly, the size of this deadweight loss appears to be much less than the deadweight losses from a leading alternative system that has been proposed for distributing creative works.”

Main Results of the Study

• Books that are outwith copyright have a higher variance in prices than books that are within copyright, and are not overall cheaper than those books within copyright (though, accounting for raw sales weights, the price increase may be modest, approx. 15%). Instead, higher prices tend to be more positively correlated with higher numbers of pages, and e.g. cloth and perfect bindings. The study therefore concludes that copyright in itself has no ‘consistent positive impact on the price of books’.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The study concludes that alternative proposed copyright systems, of the kind proposed by Fisher (2004) (e.g. governmental licensing/taxation scheme), may cause higher social costs than the current copyright system.



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)
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)
Green-tick.png
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Datasets

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