The Economics of Copyright and Digitisation: A Report on the Literature and the Need for Further Research
Title: The Economics of Copyright and Digitisation: A Report on the Literature and the Need for Further Research
Author: Christian Handke
Pages: 103 pp.
Publisher: Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP)
Date (published): 03/06/2010
Date (accessed): 14/06/2010
Type of information: report
On-line access: yes (pdf)
The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP) has commissioned this report in order to inform its research agenda. The report undertakes a critical overview of the theoretical and empirical economic literature on copyright and unauthorised copying. On the basis of this literature, this report also identifies the salient issues for copyright policy in the process of digitisation, and formulates specific research questions that should be addressed to inform copyright policy.
Economists’ theoretical work on copyright has generated a general framework in which to study the effects of copyright on social welfare. The literature identifies a number of costs and benefits associated with copyright. Digitisation is likely to affect the balance struck by existing copyright arrangements and empirical research is needed to capture the implications for the desirable level of copyright protection. So far, empirical studies provide partial answers at best but they may provide useful templates for further research. Progress seems possible, especially if better data becomes available.
This report highlights two issues which are in particular need of further research in order to inform copyright policy:
1. How does digital copying affect the supply of copyright works?
2. Does the copyright system entail obstacles to desirable aspects of technological transition?