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The Economics of Copyright

Author

Listed:
  • Ray Corrigan
  • Mark Rogers

Abstract

The copyright industries—such as music, film, software and publishing—occupy a significant and growing share of economic activity. Current copyright law protects the creator for up to 70 years after their death, significantly longer than patent protection (20 years after invention). Copyright law aims to balance the incentive to create new work against the costs associated with high prices and restricted access to this work. This paper reviews the economic issues behind copyright and how these are challenged by changes in technology and market structure. While economics provides a powerful conceptual framework for understanding the trade-offs involved, the paper argues that our empirical knowledge base is very weak. Much more empirical analysis is needed to understand the impacts of changes to copyright legislation. Without such analysis, policy and legal debates will continue to be based largely on anecdote and rhetoric.

Suggested Citation

  • Ray Corrigan & Mark Rogers, 2005. "The Economics of Copyright," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 153-174, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:219
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    File URL: http://www.world-economics-journal.com/Contents/ArticleOverview.aspx?ID=219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    2. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1-19.
    3. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    4. Albert Breton & Gianluigi Galeotti & Pierre Salmon & Ronald Wintrobe, 1995. "Nationalism and Rationality," Post-Print hal-00445587, HAL.
    5. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 424-440.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christine Greenhalgh & Mark Rogers, 2007. "The Value of Intellectual Property Rights to Firms," Economics Series Working Papers 319, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Ivan Png, 2006. "Copyright: A Plea for Empirical Research," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000484, David K. Levine.
    3. Ivan Png & Qiu-hong Wang, 2007. "Copyright Duration and the Supply of Creative Work," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000478, David K. Levine.

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