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Does Longer Copyright Protection Help or Hurt Scientific Knowledge Creation?


  • Shahram Haydari


  • Rory Smead



The Constitution of the United States empowers the Congress to pass copyright laws to promote knowledge creation in the society and more specifically scientific knowledge. Many interesting economic studies have been conducted on copyright law, but very little research has been done to study the impact of the law on knowledge creation. In this paper we develop and analyze an agent-based model to investigate the impact of copyright on the creation and discovery of new knowledge. The model suggests that, for the most part, the extension of the copyright term hinders scholars in producing new knowledge. Furthermore, extending the copyright term tends to harm everyone, including scholars who have access to all published articles in the research field. However, we also identify situations where extending copyright term promotes rather than hinders knowledge creation. Additionally, scholars that publish copyrighted materials tend to out-perform those who do not creating a potential tension between individual incentives and the public good.

Suggested Citation

  • Shahram Haydari & Rory Smead, 2015. "Does Longer Copyright Protection Help or Hurt Scientific Knowledge Creation?," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(2), pages 1-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2014-82-2

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