Yuvaraj et al. (2021)

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

Yuvaraj et al. (2021)
Title: U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets
Author(s): Yuvaraj, J., Giblin, R., Russo-Batterham, D., Grant, G.
Year: 2021
Citation: Yuvaraj, J., Giblin, R., Russo-Batterham, D. and Grant, G. (2021) U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (forthcoming)
Link(s): Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: The study constructs two datasets through web scraping of US Copyright Office Catalog. The data pertains to copyright termination notice records filed between 1977 and 2020, in respect of both § 203 and § 304 of the US Copyright Act. The datasets total 13,291 unique notices corresponding to 109,899 titles. Thereafter, the study offers initial descriptive statistics of the characteristics of the datasets.
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:
  • 1977 - 2020
Funder(s):
  • Australian Research Council (FT170100011)

Abstract

“Copyright termination laws in the United States allow creators to end their copyright assignments and licences after 35 years or longer and regain their rights. These laws are designed to protect authors and their heirs by giving them a second opportunity to profit from their works, where they might have assigned them initially for relatively little. Similar laws are being recommended around the world. However, there is little data on how these laws are being used. Such data is vital because it provides insights into the pros and cons of different systems. We fill this gap by providing the first large-scale study of copyright termination notice records from the U.S. Copyright Office. Utilising data scraping and manipulation techniques in the Python programming language, we have created two brand new datasets for scholars, copyright experts, creators, publishers, and other industry stakeholders to examine. In our accompanying paper, we document some preliminary trends from the data and how it might be used for further analysis.

This is a pre-peer reviewed version of a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Minor changes have been made since submission and will be reflected in the published version. Changes may also be made in response to peer review.”

Main Results of the Study

• The study observes increases in filings of termination notices in 1978, 1988 and 2000, with a notable decline between 2016 - 2019.
• The vast majority of termination notices are filed in respect of works of performing arts (92% of all titles), with substantially less in respect of literary works (7.3%), sound recordings (0.1%) and art (0.04%). The study remarks upon the relative neglect of literary works, contextualising that termination notices account for approximately 0.04% of corresponding copyright registrations. Of these literary works, the study suggests that only those with enduring value, which are e.g. used in subsequent movie/tv adaptations, are frequently terminated.
• Musicians and songwriters file termination notices in respect of the largest overall number of works. However, of literary works, the top 10 parties account for over 65% of all termination notices in this category (many being household names, such as Stephen King, Ann M Matin and Piers Anthony).

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The study suggests four policy implications:
• Reduce the time after transfer before termination can occur;
• ‘Streamline’ the reversion process to encourage more claimants;
• Consider an automatic reversion after a fixed term;
• Consider the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ model of reversion as implemented in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.



Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
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)
Green-tick.png
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

Sample size: 13,291
Level of aggregation: Termination notices
Period of material under study: 1977 - 2020