On an Art without Copyright
For games of chess no copyright whatsoever exists: Game scores can be reprinted without the players' permission and without compensation. The leitmotif in the economic literature on copyright is the trade-off between underutilization--due to granting the (monopoly) copyrights--and underproduction due to a lack of incentives without copyright. According to this approach, we should observe quantitative or qualitative deficits in the production of games of chess. However, this is not the case. Three main reasons are sketched: First. game scores are a by-product, and therefore the elasticity of supply with respect to earnings is low. Second, the perception of quality depends on ranking, and copyright cannot increase the number of top ten players. And third, copyright would even give rise to certain quality disincentives. In the final part of the paper it is argued that to a certain extent these arguments also hold for other art forms which are usually presumed to work only because of the existence of copyright. Copyright 1996 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG
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Volume (Year): 49 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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