Copyright, Digitization, and Aggregation
Occidental College - Department of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS)
December 13, 2011
NET Institute Working Paper No. 11-18
The digital revolution means that consumers can now quickly and easily access content that is aggregated from many online sources. However, digital aggregation has tested the boundaries of copyright law. It is not clear whether allowing extracts of copyrighted works to be distributed by others benefits or harms copyright holders. We ask whether digital aggregation encourages users to "skim" or to investigate content in depth. We exploit a contract dispute that led a major aggregator to remove information from a content provider. We find that after the removal, users were less likely to investigate additional content in depth. The relaxation of copyright protection benefited horizontally or vertically differentiated content the most.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: digitization, information, consumer search, online, Internet
JEL Classification: L86
Date posted: June 13, 2011 ; Last revised: October 29, 2014
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