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Can Private Copyright Protection Be Effective? Evidence from Book Publishing

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  • Imke Reimers

Abstract

Digitization has impacted publishing, news, and entertainment industries in recent years by lowering the cost of access. With the option to download creative works legally, however, come the possibility of doing so illegally and the issue of how to protect copyrighted works effectively. Public (legislative) and formal (legal) efforts to prevent copyright infringements have been controversial or inefficient. The book industry showcases an alternative approach in which private companies use relatively inexpensive network surveillance to protect individual titles. I estimate the effectiveness of such protection on legal sales of books that become protected using a difference-in-differences approach. I find a protection-related increase in sales of electronic books--the closest substitute for online piracy--of more than 14 percent, with effectiveness depending on popularity, genre, and search frequency. Most of the increase is due to prevention of casual infringements rather than professional piracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Imke Reimers, 2016. "Can Private Copyright Protection Be Effective? Evidence from Book Publishing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 411-440.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/687521
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Batikas, Michail & Claussen, Jörg & Peukert, Christian, 2017. "Follow The Money: Piracy and Online Advertising," 28th European Regional ITS Conference, Passau 2017 169448, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Michail Batikas & Jörg Claussen & Christian Peukert, 2018. "Follow The Money: Online Piracy and Self-Regulation in the Advertising Industry," CESifo Working Paper Series 6852, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Jeremy Watson, 2017. "What is the Value of Re-use? Complementarities in Popular Music," Working Papers 17-15, NET Institute.
    4. repec:eee:indorg:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:188-215 is not listed on IDEAS

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