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Price Discrimination and Copyright Law: Evidence from the Introduction of DVDs


  • Julie Holland Mortimer


This paper examines the welfare effects of intellectual property protection, accounting for firms’ optimal responses to legal environments. I examine firms’ use of indirect price discrimination in response to U. S. copyright law preventing direct price discrimination. Using data covering VHS and DVD movie distribution, I explain studios’ optimal pricing strategies under U. S. copyright law, and determine optimal pricing strategies under E. U. copyright law, which allows for direct price discrimination. I find that studios’ use of indirect price discrimination benefits consumers and harms retailers. Optimal pricing under E. U. copyright law further benefits studios and consumers. I also reanalyze these issues assuming continued DVD adoption.

Suggested Citation

  • Julie Holland Mortimer, 2004. "Price Discrimination and Copyright Law: Evidence from the Introduction of DVDs," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2055, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2055

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    Cited by:

    1. Hong, Seung-Hyun, 2007. "The recent growth of the internet and changes in household-level demand for entertainment," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 304-318, October.
    2. William R. Johnson, 2005. "Creative Pricing In Markets For Intellectual Property," Virginia Economics Online Papers 369, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.

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