|Title:||Testing the Over- and Under-Exploitation Hypotheses: Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913-32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968-2007)|
|Author(s):||Heald, P. J.|
|Citation:||Heald, P. J. (2008). Testing the Over- and Under-Exploitation Hypotheses: Bestselling Musical Compositions (1913-32) and Their Use in Cinema (1968-2007). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper, (234).|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Buccafusco and Heald (2012), Flynn, Giblin and Petitjean (2019), Heald (2014a), Heald (2014b), Heald, Shi, Stoiber and Zheng (2012a), MacGarvie, McKeon and Watson (2018), Reimers (2019)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Identified the 1294 most popular musical compositions from 1913-32 and focuses on the 74 most enduringly valuable of those compositions. The years 1968-2007 were chosen because the compositions from 1913-22 began to fall into the public domain in1988, the mid-point in that timeline.
Songs (full list) were then tracked in the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Some economists assert that as valuable works transition from copyrighted status and fall into the public domain they will be underexploited and their value dissipated. Others insist instead that without an owner to control their use, valuable public domain works will be overexploited or otherwise debased. This study of the most valuable musical compositions from 1913-32 demonstrates that neither hypothesis is true as it applies to the exploitation of songs in movies from 1968-2007. When compositions fall into the public domain, they are more likely to be exploited in movies, suggesting no under-exploitation. And the rate of exploitation of these public domain songs is no greater than that of copyrighted songs, indicating no congestion externality. The absence of market failure is likely due to producer and consumer self-regulation.
Main Results of the Study
Songs that were in the public domain appeared more in movies without controlling for popularity of books or period effects. Controlling for both there was no effect of copyright status on the probability of a song appearing in movies.
The paper concludes that the market works just as efficiently before the copyright extension act as it did before the extension,.
Suggesting that the extension was redundant in terms of avoiding under and over exploitation of works.
The author also finds it very unlikely that a work would be debased when when in the public domain
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Place the burden of proof on those who predict valuable works in the public domain will suffer from serious market failure.
Legislative response should be very specifically targeted to a very narrow set of work.
Blanket term extensions cannot be justified by handful of narrow unproven hypothesis.