|Title:||Copyright and Creative Incentives: What we Know (And Don’t)|
|Author(s):||Sprigman, C. J.|
|Citation:||Sprigman, C.J. (2017) Copyright and Creative Incentives: What we Know (And Don’t). Houston Law Review, Vol. 55, No.2 , 451-478|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Sinnreich et al. (2020)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||This study is comprised of a literature review of empirical evidence from natural and laboratory-style experiments.|
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
The dominant justification for copyright in the United States is consequentialist. Without copyright, it is claimed, copyists will compete away the profits from new artistic and literary creativity, thereby suppressing incentives to create new artistic and literary works in the first place.
This is a sensible theory. But is it true? On that question, we have little evidence. This Article examines some of the empirical work examining the link between copyright and the incentive to create new works. The Article introduces readers to a sampling of the existing empirical work, which includes event studies (aka, natural experiments), qualitative studies of creativity undertaken in so-called “low-IP” settings, and laboratory experiments. At this early point in the empirical study of copyright, the link between copyright and creative incentives appears to be considerably less robust than theory may have led us to expect.
This Article is adapted from a talk given at the University of Houston Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law Spring Lecture (presented March 30, 2017).
Main Results of the Study
The article investigates the existing empirical evidence on the relationship between copyright law and creative incentives. There are three primary conclusions:• Firstly, of the natural experiments surveyed, there appears to be a link with high cost contexts (e.g. movies and operas), but not low cost contexts (e.g. music).• Secondly, in terms of “negative space” scholarship (including fashion, comedy, and adult entertainment), there are indicators of increasing trends in the importance of performance and experience factors over the products themselves.• Lastly, the results of laboratory-style experiments suggest that the structure of creativity incentives is important. Similarly, using subjective incentives appear to have more impact on creativity than objective incentives.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
• Based on the Giorcelli and Moser study, the author concludes that copyright terms, at least in the United States, are too lengthy to encourage the spread of knowledge and creative incentives. • The author also states that, given the literature surveyed, any policy solutions to the problem of creative incentives are unlikely to be straightforward.
Coverage of Study