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Copyright and Antitrust Issues

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Abstract

This paper examines the relationships between copyright and competition law, paying special attention to the elements of conflict which have repeatedly emerged from recent antitrust cases in both the United States and Europe. In particular, the thesis argued is that the framework of intellectual property rights is crucial to antitrust evaluations because of the deterministic relation which exists between property rights on the one hand, and market structure and modes of competition on the other. In consideration of this relationship, it will be shown that several purportedly anti-competitive behaviours are in reality of an ambiguous character when considered within the system of incentives defined by copyright. What is more, given that copyright is essentially a calculated restriction on competition introduced by legislators to correct a specific market failure (i.e., creation of a sub-optimal level of copyrightable works), it then becomes quite difficult to pursue anti-competitive behaviours in a manner consistent with the nature of copyright and the incentives system. The work also shows how scholars are confronted with a structural weakness in the economic theory, vis-à-vis the current needs of antitrust enforcement in markets regulated by copyright. This weakness is probably attributable to the fact that the theory principally grew out of a study of the structure and dynamics of the manufacturing industries, and has therefore produced analysis tools geared to that particular context. However such tools are not ideally suited to the markets of information goods protected by copyright, which have modes of competition that differ substantially from those of the sectors which produce tangible goods.

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  • Giovanni B. Ramello, 2002. "Copyright and Antitrust Issues," LIUC Papers in Economics 114, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
  • Handle: RePEc:liu:liucec:114
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    Cited by:

    1. Noemí Pulido Pavón & Luis Palma Martos, 2014. "Effectiveness of Intellectual Property Regimes: 2006-2011," GEMF Working Papers 2014-12, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    2. Koji Domon & Alessandro Melcarne & Giovanni B. Ramello, 2019. "Digital piracy in Asian countries," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(1), pages 117-135, March.
    3. Donatella Porrini & Giovanni B. Ramello, 2005. "Competition in banking: switching costs and the limits of antitrust enforcement," Chapters, in: Alain Marciano & Jean-Michel Josselin (ed.), Law and the State, chapter 13, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Antonio Nicita & Giovanni Ramello & Frederic Scherer, 2005. "Intellectual Property Rights and the Organization of Industries: New Perspectives in Law and Economics," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 289-296.

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