Chiou and Tucker (2011)
|Chiou and Tucker (2011)|
|Title:||Copyright, Digitization, and Aggregation|
|Author(s):||Chiou, L., Tucker, C.|
|Citation:||Chiou, Lesley and Tucker, Catherine, Copyright, Digitization, and Aggregation (December 13, 2011). NET Institute Working Paper No. 11-18.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Nera Economic Consulting (2015)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Dataset on Internet users derives from Hitwise, which documents sites that users visit after navigating to an aggregator. Hitwise “develops proprietary software that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to analyze website logs created on their network." Once the ISP aggregates the anonymous data, the data are provided to Hitwise.|
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
The digital revolution means that consumers can now quickly and easily access content that is aggregated from many online sources. However, digital aggregation has tested the boundaries of copyright law. It is not clear whether allowing extracts of copyrighted works to be distributed by others benefits or harms copyright holders. We ask whether digital aggregation encourages users to "skim" or to investigate content in depth. We exploit a contract dispute that led a major aggregator to remove information from a content provider. We find that after the removal, users were less likely to investigate additional content in depth. The relaxation of copyright protection benefited horizontally or vertically differentiated content the most.
Main Results of the Study
This survey measures how a platform's expansion or contraction of copyrighted content affects navigation by users from that platform to the copyright holder's website, and suggests that aggregator users visit content websites after visiting an aggregator. More specifically, it shows that:
- Users do not view an aggregator as a perfect substitute for copyrighted content. When users encounter content summarized by an aggregator, they are more likely to be provoked to seek additional sources and read further rather than merely being satisfied with a summary.
- Websites with either a very national or very local audience suffered the steepest decline in downstream visits after the removal of online content. Aggregation benefits content that is either vertically differentiated, such as nationally recognized sites with acclaimed standards of quality, or horizontally differentiated, such as local sites that would not otherwise find a broad audience. Aggregation of content from hyperlocal sites may encourage consumer traffic to these sites and help expand the user base.
- When digital advances reduce search costs, this promotes a greater search for information rather than simply reducing the time that a person spends on a predefined set of information. Digital aggregation does benefit high quality sources and that even with the plethora of sources available in the Internet age, users still do seek sources with acclaimed standards of quality.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Producers of primary content may actually benefit from relaxing their restrictions on copyright and by allowing others to disseminate their content, particularly if it is either a niche or a high-quality offering.
- The relaxation of intellectual property rights may benefit content that is either horizontally differentiated, such as local sites, or vertically differentiated, such as national sites with acclaimed standards of quality.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Website visits|
|Period of material under study:||2009-2010|