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Seventeen Famous Economists Weigh In On Copyright: The Role Of Theory, Empirics, And Network Effects

  • Stan J. Liebowitz

    (University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Stephen E. Margolis

    (North Carolina State University)

In 2002, seventeen economists including five Nobel Laureates presented an amicus curiae brief discussing the economics of copyright extension in support of the petitioners in Eldred v. Ashcroft. The economists’ amicus brief was unusual in several respects, not least in that it brought together a group of economists almost as notable for its diversity of opinion (spanning the ideological spectrum from Kenneth Arrow to Milton Friedman) as for its academic distinction. When such a distinguished and broad panel of economists readers would have every reason to believe that the arguments set forth in this document are sound down to the smallest details. Yet this is not the case. Scholars in the fields of law and economics will continue to address the economics of copyright duration in the foreseeable future, so it is important that they understand the imperfections in the economists’ brief. This Article provides a counterweight to the amicus brief, identifying some points the economists ignored, clarifying some discussions they did not quite get right, and providing data that runs counter to some assumptions they made.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 0505003.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 03 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0505003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 23. forthcoming in Harvard Journal of Law and Technology
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